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Have you ever been in a room with a group of people and a newborn child? Everyone comments on how beautiful the new baby is, even though the little tyke could be the ugliest kid ever born. The group is polite, socially correct, and clearly doesn’t want to offend the proud parents of the ugly baby. Unfortunately, this same social behavior frequently applies to extraordinarily expensive public-safety technology projects that fail to meet minimum performance expectations. People who know the project is a failure or know that the service provided by the new technology is inferior won’t speak up and warn others because they are concerned about “calling the baby ugly.”

Such is the case with countless public-safety technology projects including digital trunked radio systems and municipal WiFi projects. Deficient systems are perpetuated because officials are reluctant to speak out and share their experiences with others, often because they don’t want to embarrass colleagues and friends. Sometimes the officials are concerned about ridicule and remain mute for fear of exposure. This is a tremendous disservice to the public-safety community. Millions of dollars are wasted and our first responders who deserve the best are saddled with inferior systems and technology.

Most law enforcement professionals take great pride in sharing information about crimes and offenders, but many are reluctant to openly share information about mistakes made in selecting and implementing expensive business tools. I’ve seen momentum build around projects that had no clear purpose or objective, but enthusiastic support abounded until the million dollar budget was exhausted. In the end, there was no tangible benefit to public-safety. All because no one was willing to ask some hard questions or “call the baby ugly.”

Please accept this message as my plea to openly share your experiences with inferior technology and products for the benefit of the greater good.

Click here to tell me your “ugly baby” story.