What I wish I knew before I took over a Public Safety IT Department

What I wish I knew before I took over a Public Safety IT Department
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1 Resources
Recorded October 24, 2017
Unit 1 Presentation: What I wish I knew before I took over a Public Safety IT Department
Unit 2 Recording: What I wish I knew before taking over a Public Safety IT Department

Becoming a leader can be a tedious job – you need to be on top of everything and everyone – but not so much that you become a nagging micromanager to the eyes of your team. A balancing act that can only get tougher if you are not as technically adept on the expertise of the team you will be handling. This is not an ideal situation, but it happens. Public safety professionals with minimal technical expertise may be appointed to head a team that deals with cybersecurity, cybercrimes, or digital case management. The most adaptable and skillful leaders may be able to do this, surviving and flourishing despite being a fish out of water. But for some, it may not be as easy. Luckily, there are third-party providers like Athena Advanced Networks that can walk with you to make it an easier transition.

In this webinar, we have two key resources who can provide insights on this likely scenario. Mike Lyons is the CEO of Athena Advanced network has more than 2 decades working with public safety agencies. Meanwhile, Teresa Murray is the CEO of Sacramento Regional Fire/EMS Communications Center. Mike interviews Teresa as she shares best practices, strategies and lessons learned having to lead an IT team without much of a technical background. Mike’s expertise working with different agencies providing IT services through Athena Advanced Networks allowed him to provide the most common challenges and general recommendations on the topic.

Providing insights from both the client and provider point of view, Teresa and Mike tackled various subjects such as:

  • A poll question that gauged the webinar attendees’ current agencies’ IT set-up.
  • Teresa’s career background, personal qualities, and values learned from her previous roles that allowed her to adapt well to being assigned to lead an IT-centric organization.
  • Worries and concerns Teresa had knowing that she will be in an unfamiliar territory, and what she did to get over these concerns.
  • Recommendations on how to start their new roles and ways to better understand how things are run.
  • The concept of cross-pollination and why Teresa isn’t that big of a fan of SMEs.
  • How finding an objective third-party partner can provide technical assistance and improve processes and systems.
  • Important points to consider when prioritizing what must be done for the team to achieve the needs and goals of the team in the most efficient way.
  • How understanding and evaluating the details of your resources and contractual obligations can impact the organization’s finances.
  • The technical challenges Teresa encountered especially during the initial phase of her leadership.
  • The proactive approach she decided to take to fix minor issues before they blow up and cause a major crash.
  • How and when team rolls out system upgrades and fixes.
  • An open for all process documenting system she employs that allows transparency and encourages learning on the various functions and tasks of the different teams.
  • The relationship that Teresa and her team cultivated going through the dips and peaks together.
  • The type of mindset and values her team cultivated which encourages everyone to embrace creativity and explore their potential.
  • The key takeaways from the session and the tangible proof of the success Teresa and her team had working with Athena Advanced Networks.
  • Questions were asked on dealing with challenging team members, the business process Teresa employed within the organization, the open office space, and prioritizing tasks.


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This webinar was sponsored by Athena Advanced Networks. Athena Advanced Networks provides technology services for public safety agencies, supporting their mission-critical IT infrastructure. Our services range from planning and design through technical project management, installation, and deployment to ongoing support and monitoring of operational systems. Athena combines years of public safety service with our core value of responsiveness, making our team a committed partner, supporting your mission.  By registering for this event you hereby authorize the Justice Clearinghouse to share your registration information with this organization. 

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