The University of Southern Mississippi will take part in a $4.73 million contract with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Domestic Preparedness Support Initiative. The initiative coordinates Department of Defense efforts to identify, evaluate, deploy, and transfer technology, items, and equipment to federal, state, and local first responders.
Dr. Joshua Hill, assistant professor of criminal justice and forensic science at The University of Southern Mississippi, USM’s National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security and Kopis Mobile will lead this year-long project to identify Department of Defense technology and equipment that can enhance public safety and improve homeland security.
"The one-year time frame will be broken into several pieces,” Hill said. “Three months for security gap identification, three months for technology identification, and the remaining time cycling through testing, commercialization, and outreach as technologies make their way through the process."
Dr. Lisa Nored, director of USM’s School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security, said the school is honored to be selected for this prestigious award, which positions USM to continue its work at the forefront of exploration and development of innovative security technology.
“We remain grateful to the agencies who selected The University of Southern Mississippi and the School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science and Security to pioneer this project and take a leadership role in homeland security,” Nored said. “The collaborative partnerships involved in this project will significantly enhance our nation's ability to provide security and protection at spectator events. We are extremely proud of the hard work, industry and energy of Dr. Joshua Hill and his team and look forward to the results of this project.”
Officials at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4), housed at USM, say the university is uniquely prepared to assist this Department of Defense-funded project aimed at improving spectator sports and equipment safety and security. This collaboration provides the ideal environment to detect, deter, prevent, and mitigate future risks and enhance responses at sporting and entertainment events, officials said.
“We are fortunate to be able to work with our university’s School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security to look at gaps in the sports and entertainment industry and identify critical solutions,” said Dr. Lou Marciani, director of NCS4.
Kopis Mobile, a Flowood-based technology company that specializes in designing and manufacturing custom apps and app-enabled electronics, will not only identify capability gaps and relevant DoD technologies, but also introduce the resulting products and services to sports and entertainment venues and related public service agencies. Kopis Mobile has created multiple custom apps and app-enabled electronics equipment for the Department of Defense, law enforcement and private security markets since 2013.
“We are excited to partner with NCS4 and DPSI to bring together the best minds, know-how, and DoD technology to mitigate risk at large-scale events,” said Kopis Mobile Co-Founder Hugh Middleton. “We believe this partnership will result in tools, training, and research to increase venue safety and security across the nation.”