The September/October 2014 edition is our annual Computer Hardware/Software Technology issue.
Highlights from this issue include:
• Working with Today’s Media
• The Hiperwall Video Wall
• New SWAT/Tactical Equipment
• Seven Tips for Getting Promoted
• The SIG SAUER Model P320
• And Much More!
Police and Security News is proud to be the Official Media Sponsor of the Police Security Expo
Attorney General Works to Expand Availability of Naloxone
Attorney General Eric Holder, in a recent memorandum, urged federal law enforcement agencies to train and equip personnel with the drug naloxone. The potentially lifesaving drug is known for effectively restoring breathing to a victim in the midst of a heroin or opioid overdose.
According to a recent study, 110 Americans (on average) die from drug overdoses every day, outnumbering even deaths from gunshot wounds or motor vehicle crashes. More than half of these drug overdose deaths involve opioids such as heroin and prescription pain relievers. Between 2006 and 2010, heroin overdose deaths dramatically increased by 45 percent.
“The shocking increase in overdose deaths illustrates that addiction to heroin and other opioids, including some prescription painkillers, represents nothing less than a public health crisis,” said Holder. “I am confident that expanding the availability of naloxone has the potential to save the lives, families and futures of countless people across the nation.”
The Justice Department wants federal law enforcement agencies, as well as their state and local partners, to review their policies and procedures to determine whether personnel in those agencies should be equipped and trained to recognize and respond to opioid overdose by various methods, including the use of naloxone. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have amended their laws to increase access to naloxone, resulting in over 10,000 overdose reversals since 2001.
Washington Police Ask Public to “Tweet Smart”
Social media has become the tool of choice for sharing life events – from mundane things like family dinners to major life changing emergencies.
Seattle area law enforcement agencies are asking the public to “Tweet Smart” during emergencies. “Please don’t tweet about the movements of responding police officers or post pictures,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste. “Sooner or later, we’ll have an emergency where the suspect is watching social media. That could allow an offender to escape or, possibly, even cost an officer [his (or her)] life.”
The agencies’ concern began to grow after watching events in Moncton and New Brunswick, Canada; and Portland, Oregon. “We watched these incidents as they unfolded on social media. In both cases, there was real-time information posted by individuals which could have compromised officer safety,” said Chief Bret Farrar of the Lakewood (WA) Police Department.
Along with posting information about police movements, posting pictures can put officers at risk, too. “If it’s safe to do so, go ahead and take pictures of our deputies in action,” said Kitsap County (WA) Sheriff Steve Boyer. “We’re very proud of the work they do. We’d simply ask that you wait to post those pictures until the emergency is over.”
In fact, pictures posted after the emergency can help investigators determine what happened as the event unfolded. Here are some suggested dos and don’ts for the use of social media in emergencies:
• Do get to a safe place and call 911 if possible. Live telephone calls to dispatchers are law enforcement’s best source of real-time information in an emergency.
• Do feel free to let family and friends know you’ve reached safety.
• Do feel free to warn friends if you have firsthand knowledge of a developing emergency.
• Don’t tweet or post about the movements of police or post pictures of officers. Even what seems like vague information could be used by a criminal familiar with the area.
• Don’t endanger yourself to get a picture – no matter how compelling.
• Don’t spread rumors. If you’re not sure, don’t post, tweet or retweet.
• Do feel free to tweet about the response and post pictures after the emergency is over.
Although the term is “Tweet Smart,” the advice applies to all social media platforms.
Agencies participating in the Tweet Smart campaign include the Bellevue Police Department; the Des Moines Police Department; the Federal Way Police Department; the King County Sheriff’s Office; the Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office; the Lakewood Police Department; the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office; the Seattle Police Department; and the Washington State Patrol.
Passenger Side Approach May Be Promoted
A study conducted last year by the Force Science Institute showed officers who approached the motorist from the passenger side got to “the safety zone” an average of a half second quicker than those who approached from the driver’s side. The Pioneer Press wrote about the study and “routine stops” while reporting on the murder of veteran Mendota Heights (MN) Police Officer Scott Patrick.
William Lewinski, Executive Director of the Force Science Institute, is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s tactical patrol operations committee. Lewinski told the newspaper that the group may officially promote the passenger side approach as a preferred method – pending conditions and circumstances. Lewinski is also quoted as saying there’s no guarantee that even the best preparation and training will fully protect officers from such lethal harm, in part because the criminal has the element of surprise.
To read the Pioneer Press article, go to http://tinyurl.com/qbu7dlu.
To read the traffic stop study, go to www.forcescience.org/trafficstop.html.
VCS Software Revolutionizes Shift Scheduling with New Product
VCS Software, providers of the Police Officer Scheduling System (POSS), has partnered with hundreds of various-sized police departments to best understand the current needs of law enforcement in maintaining accurate and proactive schedules.
“One request that came through loud and clear was the need for a customizable system,” stated CEO Guy DiMemmo. “Every individual agency has unique shift rotations, leave requirements, union rules, and even lunch schedules – but one standard system cannot handle every single variance.” So, VCS created a new version of POSS called SCHEDULE APP.
SCHEDULE APP gives users the ability to customize the scheduling system to their precise needs. Dashboards can be configured in tile format to show exactly the information each individual wants to see. Schedule rotations, overtime reasons, extra duty rules, security levels, shift bidding, and post names can all be constructed to fit the agency’s requirements. Users can design hundreds of reports just by selecting the specific schedule information they need using the robust Report Writer. “SCHEDULE APP literally gives our clients control over how they want to use the system,” adds DiMemmo.
One major objective DiMemmo asked his software development team to achieve when coding SCHEDULE APP was to make the system user-friendly and intuitive. Screens exhibit the universal look and feel of the Microsoft Windows® platform, and menu bar action items are organized and neatly arranged within sidebars. An active Search Box gives users the ability to enter key words for actions they want to perform, resulting in those screens immediately becoming visible. Smartphone devices also maintain the look and feel of POSS SCHEDULE APP so that clients can easily utilize the system from anywhere at any time.
One of the most basic requirements of a public safety scheduling system is that it must be proactive. Typical scheduling and time and attendance software programs log worked hours as they occur and then output those hours for deployment, payroll, and review purposes. In law enforcement, however, the output of that information is too late. Public safety personnel need to know that the right people with the right qualifications show up at the right time. Their schedules need to be determined before the shift starts, not during the shift. This simple paradigm shift of practicing proactive (instead of reactive) scheduling saves agencies tens of thousands of dollars by reducing overtime, fairly awarding extra duty, minimizing grievances, and cutting payroll processing time in half.
In addition to the roll out of SCHEDULE APP was the introduction of VCS’ brand-new client care experience: VCS Communities. VCS Communities is a support and social media site which enables POSS SCHEDULE APP users to come together online and communicate best practices with each other. Focus groups are available by industry, location, product, and user level. Clients can post helpful articles, ask for shift rotation suggestions, discuss software applications, and just connect in the spirit of collaboration. Support features include a library of training videos and webinars; knowledge base articles; interaction with VCS staff members; news feeds; and instant e-ticket support.
“The Communities portal takes support to a whole new level by uniting our clients and our staff to share, discuss, and solve scheduling and time and attendance challenges together as professionals,” states Cathy Leone, Administrator of Client Relations at VCS. “It’s an example of VCS’ commitment to maintain a partnership of learning with our clients. Our philosophy is to collaborate and work together with our clients, not just have a business relationship with them. We view clients as friends and colleagues, not simply account numbers.”
The VCS staff believes that a company’s responsibility to its clients is to provide the most comprehensive software systems with support options which promote educated users. That philosophy is what drives VCS every day to promote friendly and helpful staff who deliver and support the most innovative scheduling software solutions specifically written for today’s public safety professionals.
Visit www.vcssoftware.com for detailed product information about POSS SCHEDULE APP or call (888)864-4144 to speak with a certified scheduling professional.
Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras: Assessing the Evidence
A report copublished by the Office of Justice Programs Diagnostic Center and the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services reviews evidence on police officer body-worn cameras and includes recommendations for further assessing the technology.
Police Officer Body-Worn Cameras: Assessing the Evidence says that there is not enough evidence to offer a definitive recommendation regarding the adoption of body-worn cameras by police. Departments considering body-worn cameras should proceed cautiously; consider the issues outlined in the report; and recognize that most of the claims made about the technology are untested.
That said, the evaluations described in the report offer insights in several key areas including a potential civilizing effect; evidentiary benefits; and the logistical, resource and stakeholder commitment required to successfully manage a body-worn camera program.
The report is available at http://tinyurl.com/q87pdtu.
Police Foundation Launches Crime Mapping & Analysis News
Crime Mapping & Analysis News is a quarterly online newsletter available at www.crimemapping.info. The Police Foundation publication includes articles on the methods, technologies and tools which support innovation, data collection and evidence-based practices in law enforcement.
The newsletter is a revamped version of Crime Mapping News, published by the Police Foundation from 1999 to 2009.
Crime Mapping & Analysis News is a vehicle for law enforcement professionals, crime analysts, researchers and crime prevention managers and executives, and criminologists to share their ideas to improve and strengthen the law enforcement community.
The new Crime Mapping & Analysis News is supported by the International Association of Crime Analysts; ESRI, a leader in geographic systems software; and the Omega Group, a leading developer of geographic software for public safety agencies.
Governing: Governments Struggling to Get Social Media Right
Social media is the ultimate government transparency which is why public officials not only need to get used to it, but get good at it. Governing magazine talks about how.
The article begins with a tweet gone bad, “ ‘Sexual assault is always avoidable.’ Far short of the 140 characters allowed by Twitter, but enough to cause an immediate ‘twit storm.’ The unfortunate tweet – generated by a consultant hired by Massachusetts to handle its Twitter communiqués – was meant to cap off the state’s recognition of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. If awareness was the tweet’s goal, it achieved it in spades. The tweet immediately set off a firestorm of controversy.”
The online white paper “Twit Happens: Five Cases of Tweet Regret in the Public Sector” is referenced in the article.
To read the Governing article, go to http://tinyurl.com/okn8npf.