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How Police Departments are Harnessing Technology to Make a Difference

- February 21, 2017 - 0 Comments

In law enforcement, minutes can literally mean the difference between life and death. Time really is of the essence for Public Safety agencies when responding to the daily mix of crimes, accidents and emergency calls. Fortunately, a variety of innovative new technologies are now available to police departments nationwide that can enable officers to respond faster and with higher efficiency through greater information sharing and collaboration. The Danville, New Jersey Police Department is learning this first hand, and as their Chief Christopher Wagner states, this “digital transformation” is changing policing for the better.

“The amount of time and money that (innovative new technology) saves has really been transformational” says Chief Wagner. Through their partnership with Cisco, the Danville Police Department is now benefiting from the use of Cisco’s Jabber and Spark on their squad car computers and even on officers’ smart phones. By using Jabber, personnel in the field and headquarters gain real-time access to instant messaging, voice and video messaging as well as conferencing. And by adding Spark, they can enable a secure and reliable collaborative space to help solve the issues they face.

Instant messaging and secure video networks are also helping the justice system. Judges, prosecutors and defendants can now meet online from multiple locations for bail and other types of hearings. This means removing the need to transport an inmate from the jail, which saves time and money for the agencies involved yet increases safety for everyone.

But many of us in Law Enforcement had to serve without the benefits tools like Jabber and Spark could have provided. For me, personally, instant video messaging would have been a tremendous asset during my 14 years as Chief of Police of the Plattsburgh, NY Police Department.

For example, on one occasion I had to be out of town to take care of a hospital-bound family member. While I was gone, there was a fatal stabbing in our city. And as you probably know, even when a police chief is out of town or away from the office, he or she may still bear responsibility for making critical decisions on major cases. As luck would have it – prior to the fatal stabbing being reported – a police vehicle was driving by the area and the dash cam video caught the suspect running from the scene and tossing a knife to the ground. Unfortunately, I could not see it from the hospital hallway where I was standing. I had to hear about the video from an officer on the scene.

In the best case scenario, I would have been there, either on the scene or at headquarters, supplied with real-time information. Lacking that, I needed my officers to present the scene in the most immediate way possible. Had Jabber and Spark been an available tool for us back then, I could have meet my responsibilities to both department and family by using real-time video conferencing with my officers back home. These technologies could have also let me view evidence, work through the parameters of the case and solve other logistical issues using Spark’s collaborative resources; all while remaining at the side of my family member in the hospital. But we simply lacked the capability back then. So this left me with only one option – a long drive home – and leaving my family behind at the hospital at a time when they needed me. Back then, this was the only way I could have access to all the information, direct the case and help make sure the suspect was caught and convicted, as he was. But that has now changed.

Thanks to Cisco’s innovative technologies I can now do both and stay responsive to my team’s needs and my family’s. And so can your department. Imagine improving response times, increasing situational awareness and aiding better outcomes in such a simple, easy-to-use way. By deploying technologies like Cisco’s Jabber and Spark, your police department can take control of communications and empower real-time video and information sharing, spur collaboration (such as lead sharing) and help drive better decision making. But that is just the tip of the iceberg, as departments adopting Jabber and Spark are quickly realizing that there’s never been a better time to join the digital transformation of Public Safety. And those that wait? Well, they may quickly find themselves wishing they hadn’t.

Check out what Chief Wagner and the Danville Police Department are doing.

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