police officer using wireless device (First Responder Network Authority/Flickr)

Public safety collaboration platform gets DHS investment

The Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology (S&T) Directorate has awarded Mobility 4 Public Safety $1.5 million to advance its dedicated messaging and collaboration tool for first responders.

The company’s Bridge 4 Public Safety (Bridge4PS), a secure communications platform exclusively for public safety practitioners in the U.S., was initially launched with funding from DHS’ Mobility Acceleration Coalition as a proof-of-concept in 2019. It was designed to close the communication gap for emergency responders by enabling safe and encrypted messaging as well as interoperability for sharing files, locations, pictures and videos across different agencies and on iOS and Android personal and agency devices. Navigation services are supplied Google Maps.

Cloud hosting, multi-factor authentication and biometric access control enable secure collaboration. Bridge4PS is also network agnostic, accessible across public, private, wired or wireless connections.

“With no dedicated public safety messaging and collaboration platform, many public safety and emergency response officials are leveraging non-secure, consumer-grade messaging tools,” DHS Senior Official Kathryn Coulter Mitchell said. “S&T recognized the need to have secure, industry-wide interoperability and information sharing, and turned to industry to help solve this challenge.”

Bridge4PS has been used as a replacement for text messaging and consumer-grade apps by nearly 400 agencies across the country, including the Houston Police Department and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“Collectively, we worked hard to bring Bridge4PS, an innovative collaboration tool dedicated to providing first responders the ability to work more efficiently, to reality,” S&T program manager Norman Speicher said. The goal now is to improve scalability requirements, broaden the public safety user base and most importantly, focus the agency’s attention on obtaining compliance certifications, he said.

Eligible public safety officials can sign up for a basic Bridge4PS license at no cost.

About the Author

Shourjya Mookerjee is an associate editor for GCN and FCW. He is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park, and has written for Vox Media, Fandom and a number of capital-area news outlets. He can be reached at [email protected] – or you can find him ranting about sports, cinematography and the importance of local journalism on Twitter @byShourjya.

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