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4 CIOs on a year of COVID-19

While acquiring enough laptops, VPN licenses, video conferencing tools and other hardware and software to equip remote workforces was challenging enough for state CIOs, it also fell on them to address many other issues laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic over the past year, like rebuilding unemployment systems and helping set up contract-tracing and vaccine-management efforts. But the past year has also put IT agencies at the forefront of state government at unlike any other moment. In a series of one-on-one interviews with Benjamin Freed, the CIOs of Connecticut, Indiana, Nevada and Texas share how the pandemic has affected them and their agencies. “People have had to do things that are outside the ordinary me under this emergency situation,” Connecticut's Mark Raymond says. Read the full interviews.

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Modernization in a pandemic

While most state governments were turned upside down by the pandemic, Nebraska mostly continued on without interruption, state Chief Information Officer Ed Toner says on a new episode of StateScoop’s Priorities podcast. Toner says Nebraska’s centralized IT model allowed operations to continue without interruption because agencies were already using single tools across the state government for individual functions like video conferencing. “We just kept moving forward," he says. Listen to the podcast.

Law enforcement tech merger focuses on early warnings

Envisage Technologies, a major supplier of training and compliance software to law enforcement agencies, announced yesterday it’s acquiring Guardian Tracking, a publisher of software that attempts to issue warnings to police departments about potential officer misconduct. The combined company, which will have customers in more than 11,000 agencies nationwide, will integrate the two brands’ software into what Envisage founder and CEO Ari Vidali said will be a comprehensive system that combines police training materials with internal affairs management and officer discipline. "There needs to be a recognition that we need to look inwardly at our practices," Vidali said. Ben has more.

The autonomous shuttles are at it again

Residents of Arlington, Texas, are now able to cruise down their public streets in city-owned autonomous shuttles, the latest additions to the city’s public transit fleet acquired for a one-year pilot through the Federal Transit Administration. The on-demand autonomous shuttle program, called Arlington RAPID, launched in the city’s downtown sector yesterday. “We believe it’s the first time autonomous, on-demand vehicles are operating on an existing public transportation service in the U.S.,” city planner Ann Foss said. Ryan Johnston has details.

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