From traffic citations to hurricanes to burglary rings, public safety personnel are always ready to provide help when it’s needed most.
Explore these stories to discover how these individuals from law enforcement agencies and fire departments of all sizes throughout the US helped create safer communities.
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In the world of public safety, dispatchers play a pivotal role in emergency responses. Severe weather, fire emergencies, and criminal acts all require first responders to get on the scene as quickly and safely as possible. To get them there, dispatchers need computer aided dispatch (CAD) tools.
Explore these feature stories to read about how agencies from across the United States help create safer communities when responding to calls for service.
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When a gunman was on the loose in the Kansas City metro area, law enforcement officials worked quickly to protect the community.
In the late summer of 2017, residents of an apartment complex called 9-1-1 to report gunshots being fired. Immediately, dispatchers sent first responders from the Independence Police Dept. and Independence Fire Dept. to assist those in need.
The dispatcher handling the call for service worked quickly to include all details in the computer aided dispatch (CAD) narrative, which allowed first responders to have instant, real-time updates on their mobile device terminals (MDTs).
"In a situation like this, information is vital," Independence FD's Battalion Chief Cindy Culp said. "Being able to share information back and forth with the police department from dispatch is helpful so that we can all work together on incidences that are criminal, medical or otherwise require a response from fire and police."
In this case, shots were fired at around 11 a.m. in the apartment complex. Witnesses who called 9-1-1 reported an individual saying she had been shot and that an individual was seen fleeing from the scene. Passersby attempted to run after the suspect, who then fired shots again and fled from the scene.
"Anytime you have a suspected shooter flee from a scene, it creates a potentially dangerous situation for everyone in the community," Culp said.
To protect the community, schools in the area were locked down and citizens were urged to stay indoors.
The suspect was captured quickly thereafter and arrested by authorities.
"This shooting highlighted one of the many incidences where the police and fire departments work together," Independence PD records administrator Joanna Whitt said. "We're lucky we had the ability to share information back and forth, so that all first responders were equipped with information that they needed as it pertained to their roles in the field."
In the spring of 2017, dozens of burglaries were reported in the city of Clovis.
Located in California’s Central Valley, Clovis averages approximately 1,000 burglaries per year. However, the city shares a border with the city of Fresno, which has the second-highest property crime rate in the county.
According to Sgt. James Munro of the Clovis Police Dept., law enforcement officers worked with crime analysts to determine a pattern among the burglaries. To do this, data was taken from the Clovis PD’s law enforcement records management system.
This data showed when and where individuals reported their vehicles were broken into along with what was stolen, which included wallets, purses, and valuables.
This information was gathered by victims' reports, security camera footage, time of day, and location of the burglaries. Individuals also reported the type of vehicle used to flee the scene, although none could get a read on the license plate number.
With all of this information, crime analysts with the Clovis PD were able to connect cases and identify a pattern.
"Our crime analysts were able to use this information generated from our records system, which helped us connect all of the open burglary cases," Munro said. "When you're able to connect cases not only can you potentially identify a suspect, but you can also start developing a crime pattern,".
By connecting cases and examining data within the police department's records system, a suspect was identified and his description was shared with officers.
The suspect was apprehended during a routine traffic stop when the patrol officer noticed he fit the description of the burglary suspect and had stolen property in his vehicle. The Clovis PD closed more than 40 open burglary cases as a result of arresting the individual.
With intelligence led policing, the Oxnard Police Dept. in California is reducing the number of gang shootings in the city.
Located in the Greater Los Angeles area, and with a population of about 207,000 residents, the Oxnard Police Department (PD) continually seeks ways of effectively addressing gang violence.
To combat this problem, the Oxnard PD uses information-driven policing techniques to help address gang activities, especially when there is a connection with violent crime.
In the spring of 2017, Oxnard experienced a rash of gang-related shootings, some of which were fatal. To address the violence, Oxnard PD Assistant Police Chief Jason Benites said that staff worked to identify parts of the city that were most likely to experience this violent crime.
Detectives, officers, and crime analysts worked together using data to identify these locations, so they could increase police presence in areas where the shootings occurred most frequently.
To do this, Benites said staff pulled information regarding the shootings from the department's law enforcement records management and analytic reporting systems. These systems helped determine when and where the shootings occurred, who was involved, and circumstances surrounding the events.
"When you can look at data that says the specific areas where an event has occurred and the specific time it occurred, it helps you to identify patterns," Benites said.
By collecting this data, the department was able to redeploy patrol officers to specific areas during specific times where the shootings occurred most frequently. Almost immediately, this increase in police presence helped reduce the shootings significantly.
"Having the ability to gather data that helps us strategically use our limited resources to their maximum potential helps us keep the community of Oxnard safer," Benites said.
From fugitives on the run to massive pileups, the stories from The Call show the type of dynamic situations dispatchers, first responders, sworn officers, and civilian employees handle on a daily basis and the role that technology plays while they make communities safer together.
In looking back at the first half of 2017, the following posts and videos to The Call highlight the work of public safety personnel throughout the country:
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From identifying bodies to capturing fugitives, the stories from The Call show the type of situations public safety personnel throughout the United States handle on a daily basis.
In the last four months, our most popular articles include:
Burglary Ring Busted by Law Enforcement
The Facts About Text-to-911
Police Keep Community Safe Using Mission-Critical Data
These articles highlight how public safety officials keep communities safe as well as the importance of keeping up with industry trends like Next Generation 911.
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In less than three days, a convicted murderer who escaped from a Kankakee County jail was back behind bars.
Kamron Taylor was an inmate at the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee. He was convicted of murder and was awaiting sentencing for that crime when he escaped from jail.
To escape, Taylor choked and beat a corrections officer, then donned the man’s clothing and walked out of the detention center. He stole the officer’s vehicle and made his way to Chicago.
While Taylor was on the lam, dozens of tips came in to the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office. Becky Powell, Investigation’s Office Manager for the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office, entered each tip into the records system used by the sheriff’s office. This data entry helped to build a robust file on Taylor so that no piece of evidence or minor detail was overlooked.
Having been in the county’s corrections facility already, Taylor’s record was already detailed, which is what ultimately helped identify him when he was captured by Chicago police.
When Chicago police apprehended Taylor, he repeatedly gave a fake name to Chicago authorities to avoid going back to jail. However, Chicago police contacted the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office as they were confident that the man they had in custody fit the description of Kankakee’s escaped convict.
A positive identification was made when Taylor’s neck tattoo of the name Gertrude was found in the records and corrections system used by the Kankakee County Sheriff’s Office. Fingerprints taken by Chicago police further proved Taylor’s true identity.
“As soon as the Chicago police reached out to us, we were able to provide them with the identifying information that they needed to get Kamron Taylor back into Kankakee’s custody,” Powell said.
Taylor was sentenced to 107 years in prison for murder and has since been named as a suspect in at least one other unsolved murder case.
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