African American History Month is a time where we look to the past and honor the contributions of those who’ve come before us. But today, I want to talk to you about the future African American leaders and contributors to the S&T community.
Here at S&T, we take immense pride in our Office of University Programs and their outreach to Minority Serving Institutions. This relationship with schools such as Howard University, Tuskegee University, and Bowie State University is an important piece of the homeland security puzzle that enables students to participate in building capabilities for homeland security research, and allows us to prepare young, gifted minds to enter the workforce.
One such capability created by the students at Morgan State University (MSU) offers a very specific help to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The iLaw Enforcement App Assistance Program for Students (iLEAPS) is a smartphone app designed to enable university students, faculty, and staff to quickly contact campus police during a potentially dangerous situation. The app allows the user to quickly report incidents, while at the same time, geospatially identifying their origin to both dispatch operations and campus police officers.
In connection with local law enforcement and campus police, MSU students conducted several tests on their campus, reporting various types of incidents. For law enforcement, the app offers the ability to view incidents occurring in their vicinity and to coordinate a response with other officers and local dispatch. It saves time and helps law enforcement be more efficient, while also keeping them in constant contact with the user through the app’s chat interface and its ability to share photos between multiple parties.
So how does this help DHS? Aside from being cool and innovative, it can help us with DHS’ continued effort in its See Something, Say Something initiative. In particular, iLEAPS is designed to coordinate and archive text communications between multiple parties anywhere citizens need to be protected and alert. The app can also be used by civilians to report border crossings or other suspicious activities at the touch of a button on their Apple or Android devices. In fact, the MSU team is working to integrate predictive analytic tools into iLEAPS, which would allow the app to send an alert to a user when the conditions seem right for increased illegal border crossing activity in a given area.
This is but one of many reasons we’re proud to work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) like MSU and we are honored they want to work with us. HBCUs are an important part of African American History Month and an important part of what we do here at S&T.