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Idea#1669

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uniform identification for public safety personnel

As an elected official and a firefighter, I find it troubling that there is not a uniform standard for police and fire identification (ID cards). In times of disaster a police officer or firefighter can provide much needed assistance, but without a uniform standard for ID cards you could get anyone from a professional with technical rescue training to a wannabe that made his own id card. As some one in the field I would appreciate knowing what I am getting if I allow someone to assist with my organization. Maybe to start we use the military ID card as a format and that it could be used as an official form of ID. This could also include Professional Active Duty, Professional Retired, Volunnteer Active Duty, Volunteer Retired for both police and fire personnel.

Submitted by dpspivey 7 months ago

Comments (6)

  1. With the addition of a chip training and qualifications could be added and updated.

    7 months ago
  2. Great idea. I worry about counterfeiting but at least this is a step in the right direction. In Colorado, a "volunteer" was posing as a firefighter and stealing equipment in one of our big wildfires. I am sure this has happened more often than anyone would like to hear about! Victims (or real professionals) don't need amateurs or people with ill intent in the middle of a disaster.

    7 months ago
  3. 6 U.S.C. § 320 requires the FEMA Administrator to provide expertise and technical assistance to:

    “…aid federal, state, local, and tribal government agencies with credentialing and typing incident management personnel, emergency response providers, and other personnel (including temporary personnel) and resources likely needed to respond to a natural disaster, act of terrorism, or other man-made disaster.” FEMA provides credentialing expertise and technical assistance to any federal, state, tribal or local department, agency, jurisdiction, or organization with emergency management responsibilities. The National Integration Center (NIC), part of FEMA’s National Preparedness Directorate, is the executive agent for providing this expertise and assistance.

    The guideline for verifying non-federal personal identity of emergency management and response personnel is based on the federal Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council’s May 2009 guidance, “Personal Identity Verification Interoperability for Non-Federal Issuers.” A credential issued by a non-federal authority that is designed to be interoperable with the federal PIV credential is known as a PIV-Interoperable (PIV-I) card. Both PIV and PIV-I use the same open technical standard: Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) 201. The difference between PIV and PIV-I is that the PIV includes a type of background check that is unique to federal employees and contractors.

    State, local, and tribal jurisdictions are encouraged to use the federal CIO’s PIV-I guidance to develop credentials similar to the Federal Government’s PIV cards to promote consistency. If using a similar format, non-federal issuers are encouraged to fill Zone 9-Header with the state, local, tribal government, private sector, or volunteer or not-for-profit organization as appropriate. Additionally, the image underlying Zones 8, 10, and 14 would be the emblem for their organization. Additional optional placements of data are contained in FIPS 201 itself which can be obtained from National Institute of Standards and Technology (http://csrc.nist.gov/).

    SEE: http://www.fema.gov/pdf/emergency/nims/ng_0002.pdf

    Questions regarding the credentialing process should be directed to FEMA-NIMS@dhs.gov or 202-646-3850.

    7 months ago
  4. I disagree with the military ID solution and suggest that we use a public trust standard similar to the insurance and others community. This would require some basic investigation into background and require finger printing for security purposes (ie theft). I have been a DOD Navel contractor and was never required to provide FEMA accepted finger printing. The contractor that I did work for supported my security clearance but did not require me to supply fingerprinting. Just because that contractor supplied the required info does not support that all will. A standard should be made on a national level but I do not support it being within a military environment. I would be willing to accept the technology of a similar card with chip technology though. I think this would be great idea allowing better access to trained personal across all disaster situations.

    7 months ago
  5. This goes beyond public safety personnel. At least I, as a police officer, have a badge and agency credential that I don't think I'll have a problem. But our civilian personnel who staff our EOC may be different. Our Director of Transportation, or Division of IT representative, will have an equal need to get to the EOC in an emergency, and they do not have the same credentials as my own. They are the ones I worry about more. There should be a credential for those personnel that is uniform and identifies them as responders as well.

    6 months ago
  6. Some sort of standardized "interoperable" ID card is certainly a good idea; but there are simply two factors that make it impossible in the near future:

    1) Cost

    and

    2) Turf Battles

    Despite all the talk about PIV - the simple fact is that no federal agency is using a smartcard that is fully compatible with any other federal agency. And even within a single agency, if an individual has more than one status, they have to carry more that one ID card -- for example, a military reservist who also works as a contractor has to carry two different military ID cards because the DoD has never decided how to load even two sets of credentials into a single smart card - and those two ID cards will each have a different encryption certificate so anyone sending encrypted email to this person has to know which card he will be using. Oh, and by the way, each time either of his ID cards expires, he gets a new different encryption certificate, making any previous encrypted documents unreadable.

    If the federal agency that first started using smartcards can't figure out how to have two credentials for a single individual on a single card, how do you think that standard is going to work for state and local government agencies and NGOs where an individual will often have multiple credentials that are associated with multiple agencies.

    So, I'd say it is going to be quite a while before we have any recognized standard that everyone can use to become compatible and interoperable.

    6 months ago

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