I spent almost 27 years serving in the law enforcement profession, 20+ years in Phoenix PD, retiring as Commander, and 6+ years in Fort Worth PD as Chief of Police. In 2015 I retired and traveled the world as a senior consultant/advisor for a global police technology corporation. Being in 6 countries and 39 states in America, I can tell you there are a few policies that are effective but many that are not.
1: Using an approved communications platform:
This WORKS! Across the world, law enforcement employees are using unsafe, non-secure, and some illegal communications platforms. Researching these Apps (platforms), getting input from employees, and creating policy to keep your employees in compliance with state & federal laws is a good move. Don’t ignore this growing issue and keep your employees secure in their communications (and their jobs).
2: Auditing all messaging platforms in a national best practice:
This WORKS! In the last decade, there has been extensive influence by elected officials, the Department of Justice, and powerful groups (ACLU) to establish national guidelines and expectations to audit messaging, MDC’s, video storage, etc. As many say, “it is what it is” and this is the established standard. Transparency is an expectation within our profession so an agency needs to reduce risk and avoid litigation in these areas. This is why our platform can be audited easily by executives. It is a standard and we have to comply with all standards in law enforcement and government.
3: Officers are required to retain all texts for XX years:
This DOES NOT work! There are so many areas to discuss in this section but let’s focus on one: the majority of phones are privately owned by employees, NOT government. Chiefs & Sheriffs have complained for many years about “unfunded mandates”, I know, I was one of them; yet these same police executives create these unfunded mandates on their own employees! Only if you issue government owned phones should you have a policy like this. If you mandate this type of policy on your employees, then use an encrypted/compliant platform like ours that saves messages forever in the Cloud, NOT on their device! Besides, SMS (texting) is very unsafe, not secure, and easily hacked…why are you texting work-related information & evidence anyway?
4: Use of faxes, emails, and memos to share intelligence:
This DOES NOT work! This can endanger your safety and possibly your life. These methods of communication are more than 25 years old and will not work in today’s extremely fast paced world of messaging & communication. I read an article last week where a major city police department used the excuse of “the fax did not get sent” as to why an official “Amber Alert” was not successfully deployed. A child was kidnapped in daylight, their life is in danger, and you rely on a FAX?
Maximize the use of smart phones, instantly collaborate with your employees and all neighboring agencies, and maximize the speed of platforms that have changed our world by only using platforms created for the demands and expectations of policing, first responders, and government. Our company is focused on you, your safety, and providing you with the most effective & secure communications platform ever! We know the demands of your job, the scrutiny you face, and the dangers you endure…we’ve got your back and we will keep our mission on you!