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Public Safety Series: How the City of McAllen Transformed their Judicial Process with Video Solutions

In my last blog post in the Public Safety Series, I discussed how police forces could use video technologies to improve their training programs. In addition to training, there are numerous other ways that law enforcement agencies can utilize video solutions to both operate more efficiently as a department and improve officers’ ability to protect their community. Today, I want to share with you a real-life example of how one government agency is using video solutions to make tangible changes in how the judicial process in their city works.

The City of McAllen, located in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, is increasingly turning to innovative technology solutions to improve the city’s operations. As a smaller city with limited personnel and resource, McAllen realized that technology can help them operate at a high level and continue to provide excellent service to its residents. Previously, the city had deployed Cisco Call Manager as a solution to its formerly fragmented phone system, which helped simplify and management of its phone system and save money.

Next, the city turned its sights to exploring more efficient ways to connect court activities with police departments and officers in the field. It had always been difficult to obtain warrants from off-duty judges, wasting time and adding unnecessary roadblocks in the judicial process. McAllen hoped that with video solutions, police officers could connect with the city’s judges and receive paperwork for a warrant immediately.

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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: 2014 IACP Community Policing Awards

“Community policing is central to the success of the police mission as we provide quality services to, and build relationships with, our diverse communities.”

IACP President Yost Zakhary

I had the privilege of attending the 2014 International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Community Policing awards last Sunday, and I can say firsthand that it was nothing short of awe-inspiring to meet the amazing men and women from the agencies being honored. Their commitment and determination to drive initiatives that make everyone safer is incredible.

iacplogoEach year since 1998, the IACP Community Policing Committee awards the best community policing practices of agencies around the world. Since the inception of the awards, over 73 agency winners and 132 finalists globally have been recognized for their commitment to community policing and innovation.

Entries are awarded in five population categories and judged on innovative ideas that utilize the power of community policing in order to ultimately make our communities safer. The process involves extremely high standards as well. If none of the submissions in a category meet the established standards set by the Community Policing Committee, no award is given in that category.

The 2014 winners and finalists highlight innovative initiatives that address issues involving such things youth crime and school issues, gun violence, and homicide. It’s an amazing representation of the power of community policing in order to make a difference and to make our communities better.

This year’s IACP Community Policing Award winners and finalists are:










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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: Redefining Public Safety and Justice through IoE

Public safety and justice agencies around the world are facing the increasingly difficult challenge of dealing with shrinking resources. In the U.S., for example, results from a survey conducted by the International Association of Chiefs of Police and Major Cities Chiefs Association show an estimated 53 percent of U.S. counties are working with fewer staff today than they were a decade ago.

As a result of having to do more with less, police are turning to technology as a force multiplier, and one of the greatest force multipliers can come from the Internet of Everything (IoE). In short, the Internet of Everything is the networked connection of people, process, data, and things. What it can do for public safety and justice agencies is to create opportunities to increase cost efficiency, improve safety and security, provide better response times, and increase productivity.

A great example involves San Antonio.

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#CiscoPublicSafety Series: Video Solutions Help Save the Day at Chicago Police Department

Law enforcement and fire departments around the country are leveraging new technologies to better inform personnel, increase situational awareness, respond to emergencies, and protect citizens. Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1) is becoming a reality for many local municipalities as they incorporate modern digital devices within their daily routines. The Internet of Everything (IoE) is really changing the game across the board in public safety.

The Chicago Police Department (CPD), recognized nationally as a technology innovator, is a terrific example. CPD’s CLEAR (Citizen and Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting) system is the largest transaction police database in the United States. CLEAR plays a major role in analyzing the City of Chicago’s Operation Virtual Shield (OVS) system, which has a network of over 25,000 cameras. The video surveillance system consists of fixed cameras, a private camera federation, and mobile assets such as video trailers, trucks, helicopters, and boats.

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Cloud for Local Government Global Blog Series, Cloud and Law Enforcement (Part One): U.K.’s Facewatch Service Benefits Police, Businesses, and Citizens

This is the first in a two-part blog series that examines the opportunities that cloud-based services offer to law enforcement agencies—along with the challenges of this fundamental shift in the way information resources are managed.

Police forces have a well-established culture of owning and managing systems directly founded on concerns about security and control of access to information. Three trends, however, make this position unsustainable:

  • Traditional models for acquiring and running systems, which slow the pace of innovation
  • Pressure to reduce costs
  • Increasing need to form partnerships with other police agencies, public-sector bodies, and the private sector. Partnership depends on information sharing and open approaches to developing systems.

One of the most radical—and successful—cloud-based public-safety and security services is Facewatch. Using a network-based model, Facewatch provides an online reporting tool that allows U.K. businesses and citizens to report crimes and attach video evidence. The service enables crime victims to cancel credit cards instantly through Facewatch’s partners; allows users to share images of wanted people; and provides a channel for feedback from the police on the outcomes of cases.

Facewatch offers immediate benefits to the public, businesses, and law enforcement:

  • Citizens: ease of reporting and rapid management of associated processes
  • Businesses: less time required to deal with incidents
  • Law enforcement: reduces or eliminates the need to interact directly with premises to recover video footage

For all users, there is greater transparency about processes and reporting on outcomes, as well as the ability for communities to share information about wanted persons and crime trends.

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