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Safeguarding Massachusetts: Residents Call for Modernization of Public Safety Systems 

Matt Reardon, Regional Practice Lead, Retired Lieutenant Detective, Medway Police Department  | 08 April 2024  |  3 minute read


Every day, public safety agencies confront growing cyber threats and natural disasters with outdated technology, raising concerns about their ability to ensure community safety and maintain uninterrupted emergency response. Mark43 surveyed Massachusetts residents to gauge attitudes toward local public safety agencies’ preparedness levels. Sharing this data with our partners and the public aims to raise awareness and provide emergency responders with the support necessary to ensure resiliency during increased critical incidents, when communities rely on them the most. 

The survey revealed widespread worries about safety, emergency response, and obsolete technology, indicating a pressing need for upgrades in public safety systems. These upgrades are urgently needed to enhance public safety’s ability to provide continuous service during emergencies and to improve community protection.  

Let’s explore the primary concerns and solutions suggested by Bay Staters. Here are some key highlights: 

Growing Safety Concerns: 

  • Massachusetts residents fear risks to public safety at large events, during natural disasters, and from cyberattacks. 
  • Top concerns include power outages (58%) and dangerous road conditions (47%) affecting response time and causing interruptions in 911 dispatching. 
  • 53% worry about cyberattacks affecting first responders, and 60% fear downtime in emergency systems impacting 911 response times. 

The Rising Impact of Cybersecurity:  

  • Cyber threats are on the rise with 70% of Massachusetts residents fearing man-made disasters, particularly cyberattacks.  
  • This aligns with first responders nationally – 93% believe that following federal cybersecurity standards for their local agency would help the public feel more confident in their security measures.  

Legacy Systems Pose Risks: 

  • Massachusetts residents fear that a continued reliance on legacy systems puts them at unnecessary risk of data breaches due to cyberattacks, with a significant portion (38%) worrying that these unsecure systems may not be keeping records appropriately and confidentially.  
  • The majority (93%) acknowledge feeling at least somewhat concerned if their local first responders were relying upon outdated technology. 
  • 83% support their local first responders investing in technology that could help save time, enabling them to spend more in the community. 

Public Demand for Technological Upgrades: 

  • 92% of Bay Staters desire modern tech systems in local police departments. 
  • 82% of respondents advocate for increased funding for technology upgrades, to cut time that first responders spend on reporting and allow them to spend more time engaging with the community. 
  • 83% support technology investment by local public safety agencies. 

Top Four Technology Upgrades Bay Staters Call for: 

  • Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) software that pinpoints the exact location of the 911 caller (65%) 
  • Modern Records Management Systems (RMS) that allows first responders to access updated, real-time information (64%); 
  • Backup CAD which enables dispatchers to continue their work if their main systems go down (63%); and 
  • Mobile apps that let officers use their mobile devices to fill out reports and access information from anywhere (54%). 

Emphasizing the Importance of Backup Systems: 

  • 92% of respondents want their local public safety agency to have a backup emergency dispatch system in place in case any primary, regional or statewide systems go down   
  • 86% stated that the presence of a backup system would make them feel safer,  
  • This underscores the importance of redundancy in emergency response systems, ensuring continuous, uninterrupted operation even if primary, regional, or statewide systems go down. 

Mark43’s Commitment to Public Safety: 
Massachusetts residents rely on their first responders for safety in any emergency. The survey emphasizes the urgency for public safety agencies in Massachusetts to adopt modern, secure, and redundant systems. 

As the leading cloud-native public safety technology company, Mark43 offers a 21st century Public Safety Platform.  Join us in creating safer communities. 

For more on the survey’s safety concerns and how Mark43 is tackling them with innovative technology and partnerships, read the full press release: New Survey of Massachusetts Residents Reveals Major Concerns About Safety and Emergency Response

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