MCP Insights

Shooting Death Underscores Urgent Need for Action on Swatting Incidents

Posted by John Chiaramonte on Jan 8, 2018 4:00:00 PM

Swatting, the practice of falsely reporting an emergency to elicit a response from a police department’s special weapons and tactics (SWAT) team, is not a new phenomenon for the 911 community.

What is new is that a death has occurred as a result of a swatting incident.

On December 28, 2017, a dispute between online gamers turned ugly. Media reports say that one group, seeking retribution for some perceived wrongdoing, contacted a known swatter in Los Angeles and convinced him to act on their behalf. The swatter placed a call, spoofing his telephone number, to an administrative line at city hall in Wichita, Kansas, and a security guard transferred the call to 911. The caller told the 911 telecommunicator that he had shot his father in the head, was holding his mother and sister at gunpoint, had doused the house with gasoline, and was contemplating setting the building ablaze.

The telecommunicator dispatched a police response to the address provided by the caller. When police arrived, a 27-year-old man answered the door, and immediately was told to raise his hands and walk toward the officers. Regrettably, he lowered his hands to his waist, and an officer found the action threatening enough to fire a single shot at the man, killing him.

When one stops to mull this for a moment, especially considering the type of response that is dispatched to such incidents, it seems amazing that a swatting death has not happened before.

As if this event wasn’t tragic enough, the man had nothing to do with the online gaming dispute. In fact, he reportedly wasn’t a gamer at all—the swatter had provided a wrong address for the actual swatting target.

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Topics: Industry News, Operations, Public Safety Technology

'A' Player Traits and How to Spot Them Using a Prescreen Interview

Posted by Art Miley on Sep 19, 2017 3:00:00 PM

A previous post presented, on a high-level, the approach we take to finding the A players for our public safety communications careers, known as “Topgrading,” a methodology developed by Dr. Brad Smart, who is considered by many to be the world’s foremost expert on hiring practices. This article will explore some of the nuances of Topgrading, and contains tips for public safety leaders looking to find A players to add to their organization.

Unlike the yeti, the A player is no mythical creature. Indeed, the A player—who is defined as a person among the top 10 percent of professionals in his or her chosen field—has numerous discernible traits such as:

  • Best-in-class achievements—A players are results driven, exhibit consistently excellent performance, and often are award winners
  • Superior problem-solving abilities—A players are quick studies and able to perform complex analysis
  • Outstanding leadership skills—A players not only are self-starters, but also self-leaders; typically, you give them a direction, and then get out of their way; they are highly adaptive, they execute needed change, and they inspire others to higher levels of performance
  • High passion and energy—A players are driven to succeed and work at a fast pace; they will do whatever it takes—within the bounds of ethics—to get the job done.

Having a roster of A players is vitally important to every organization, but none more so than public safety agencies, which every day encounter situations where lives are on the line and every second counts. So, how does one identify the A players in the public safety sector? It all starts with the Topgrading prescreen interview.

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Topics: Life at MCP, Operations, Staffing

PSAP Cyber Security Threats and How to Prepare Your Agency [Webinar]

Posted by Morgan Sava on Aug 16, 2017 1:00:00 PM

In 2016, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an alert indicating that government facilities are being targeted by hackers and cyber criminals, a trend that DHS expected would increase.

Not only were they spot on, the issue has since specifically impacted emergency communications systems on various scales and unprecedented levels several times since that alert. For example:

  • Last October, a Twitter post containing a shortened link took over the phone and dialed 911 repeatedly was clicked more than 117,000 times by Apple phone users. 9-1-1 centers across the country were affected.
  • In Washington D.C., 70 percent of storage devices that record data from D.C. police surveillance cameras were infected with ransomware eight days before President Trump’s inauguration.
  • In Licking County, OH, a 911 center went without computers for a time because of a countywide network shutdown to prevent an attack from spreading.
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Topics: Next Generation 911, Network Evolution, Continuing Education, Operations

How to Find ‘A’ Players: An Intro to ‘Topgrading’ for Public Safety Leaders

Posted by Art Miley on Mar 31, 2017 1:30:28 PM

It is essential that MCP’s subject-matter experts (SMEs) provide exemplary service, expertise and advice to our public safety clients, because when lives are on the line and seconds count, their mission truly matters. A key element in assuring that we serve our clients at the highest levels is to hire “A” players, i.e., the top 10 percent of talent in the public safety sector. While such a determination might seem subjective, it really isn’t. In fact, we use an objective approach known as “topgrading” to accomplish this goal. It is an approach that every public safety answering point (PSAP) manager can leverage to attract the most knowledgeable and passionate talent available.

Topgrading Basics

Topgrading is a methodology that was developed by Dr. Brad Smart, who widely is considered the world’s top hiring expert. We describe topgrading as a structural approach to interviewing candidates, and we use it to fill every position. Here's a quick overview of how the topgrading process works for us.

Tip 1: Don't underestimate the importance of a pre-screen.

We start with a pre-screen interview to initially identify candidates who possess “A player” characteristics and eliminate those who do not.  Candidates generally will meet with us by phone or in a live environment.  The pre-screen interview generally will run up to 90 minutes.  During the interview we ask each candidate to state their career goals, identify their best professional attributes, and acknowledge their weaknesses.  We discuss the individual’s work history, the core values at MCP—persistence, integrity, trust, accountability and prudence—and team-oriented characteristics the individual can bring to our company.

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Topics: Life at MCP, Operations, Staffing

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