Excerpts from “Inside Blackberry” written by Sinisha Patkovic
In a violent, scary world, the mission of public safety officers is constrained because they aren’t effectively leveraging an omni-present device: their smartphones (and the software and services available from them). Because most official emergency communications still come through outdated radios, officers don’t have the right resources to stop crimes from escalating (or even happening in the first place). As a result, we’re putting them – and citizens – at higher risk.
Police officers already know their smartphones are valuable to their work. In order to do their jobs efficiently, these officers are using their personal devices, along with the text messaging, email, and calling apps that come on them, and storing photos and documents in consumer-grade cloud services.
That’s a whole lot of shadow IT happening in an industry that should have as much security as any financial institution or other regulated industry. And, unless enterprise-grade, secure, smartphone-based communications tech becomes the norm in law enforcement, this will not change.
We’d solve a lot of policing problems if officers turned in their radios for smartphones protected by a secure communications platform.
First Response: In addition to intelligent dispatching, officers now can use secure real-time collaboration and two-way secure voice to coordinate more effectively. Also, it allows medics to securely send information and images so hospital staff are ready to treat a seriously injured person as soon as the ambulance gets to the emergency department.
Situational Awareness: Secure messaging and document-sharing apps give officers more information in advance, both background and real-time, so they’re ready for what they may encounter when responding to a call.
Predictive Policing: Data and analytics from Internet of Things devices, social media, and other technologies, delivered over a secure platform, help police forecast, predict, and anticipate a situation. Social media is an important (and untapped) source of information about public safety risks. Think about the teen who sends a Snapchat or Instagram to a handful of friends about an opportunity to hang out while his parents are away, which is then shared across social media, then mushrooms into a party with hundreds of underage drinkers. Or people in an active-shooter situation posting real-time information on Facebook or Twitter.
Better Use of Location Data: While police cars are usually tracked by GPS, there is no similar setup for officers on foot, bike, or horse. Smartphone GPS tracking would enable dispatchers to make better use of these officers at public events or in high-traffic cities, where they often patrol.
Body Camera Data Storage: The escalation of police officers wearing body cameras has created the problem of how to collect and store video. Today officers have to return to the police station to transfer the data. But a secure-streaming system can send the data remotely to the main records storage system on the fly.
Collaboration (and silo busting): Secure, interoperable communications channels with embedded digital-rights management (DRM) facilitates investigations by allowing police to share data, files, and other information with social workers, law enforcement agencies, and other organizations, while maintaining full control of their data.
Efficiency: Like other government agencies, law enforcement agencies are coping with severe cost pressures, and secure communications channels can increase police efficiency through better, faster collaboration.
As law enforcement agencies around the world are learning, today’s cutting edge mobile enterprise management solutions and apps can arm officers with the tools and information they need to do their jobs better, more efficiently, and more securely. And, as a side benefit, they help agencies achieve the universal mandate for governments to do more with fewer and fewer resources.