It can happen in just a matter of minutes. One call avalanches into dozens, the emergency center dispatcher's screen flashes relentlessly, and a typical day is suddenly reduced to a single event that will define the community for years to come.
An active shooter. A flash flood. A tornado. A terrorist attack.
With every new threat today's law enforcement agencies face, the need to have a comprehensive response plan in place becomes more and more critical. Police departments around the country are expanding traditional crisis management strategies to include resources that create a connection between departments and across jurisdictions — on and offline.
In tandem with trailblazing technology, agencies can cut red tape, maintain access to critical information when it is needed most, and remain focused on the task at hand.
Break Down Barriers Between Departments, Jurisdictions
When a disaster strikes, an all-hands-on-deck response leaves little room for red tape. To cut out the middle man, forward-thinking agencies are investing in software that can immediately share data between departments and even different jurisdictions.
Access to critical data and the ability to securely share information — regardless of where a jurisdictional line is drawn — empowers first responders to better handle any crisis, especially when multiple agencies are involved.
Dispatch operators using integrated software with data-sharing capabilities have the ability to coordinate the efforts of everyone at the scene, ensuring that the appropriate people and equipment are where they are needed most. This also allows first responders, regardless of agency affiliation, to access the same information, including:
- Shared map showing incidents and responders
- Shared list of emergency 911 calls and view of the details, including: the incident, key contact information and more
- Secured messaging between everyone on the system
When first responders are linked through technology, free flowing information can help officers make better informed, more timely decisions.
Access to Critical Information
As many first responders who have dealt with weather-related crises can attest, access to critical data regardless of physical location can make all the difference. Flash flooding on the coasts during the 2017 hurricane season, for example, left many officers without physical access to the actual police department.
But, with a cloud-based software system accessible from any laptop or home desktop, location didn't matter. Because of this new technology, chiefs all along the coasts had the flexibility to set up mobile response units from wherever they were. For example, flooding prevented some chiefs from reaching the police station in a timely manner during Hurricane Harvey.
Access to up-to-date information is one of the most critical components of crisis management for police departments, so many agencies are reinvesting in technology to help prepare for any situation.
3. Maintain Records for Easy Reporting
As a situation unfolds, an officer's attention should be on the task at hand, not on the reports that will inevitably have to be filed when everything is said and done. For this reason, agencies have invested in software that maintains accurate records to minimize the time it takes to create an incident report.
These types of systems can effectively manage automatic call logging, address verification, visual warning systems, and more – everything necessary to prevent a long shift from being that much longer.
In any crisis, when first responders have the right tools at their disposal, they have the power to lead their communities out of a crisis. Using technology, officers can enhance communication, remain connected, and modernize reporting efforts.