While it’s common for first responders to use public messaging apps for work-related communication, it’s also illegal. The use of SMS and public communication apps is a violation of state and federal level public record laws like FOIA and could lead to expensive criminal lawsuits against your agency. Take Chicago–in 2016 they paid $670, 000 over lawsuits alleging the violation of open record laws. Evertel’s software offers guaranteed protection and FOIA communication compliance for just $5 per user per day.
Media has had a closer eye on interactions between police agencies and civilians due to recent tragedies captured and spread by social media machines. These events have led to a pressured transparency between police and the citizens they protect–think the dawn of mandatory body cameras.
The Capitol insurrection of last January is both tragic and an interesting case for the thin line between transparency with a public who demands answers and the need to protect that same public and critical intelligence–something that Everetel works to preserve. The Capitol police force has an annual budget of over $500 million dollars and every advantage, and yet they are still struggling with compliance laws and the public demand for transparency.
Insurrection and Capitol Police
The Capitol police are a federal agency that have been long shrouded in mystery and are uniquely opaque even among the highest levels of law enforcement. The Capitol police consists of a force of over 2,000 sworn officers who are accustomed to the large crowds that politics and demonstrations bring. Days leading up to the Capitol insurrection, anyone could access the talk of riots being openly discussed on social media.
When the insurrection did indeed occur exactly as discussed, the public demanded to know why the Capitol police force appeared so unprepared? Cue demands for answers, information, and expensive inquiries into just what happened that day.
Public Safety Communication App Checklist
Protecting Capitol Police
Unfortunately, the more information surrounding the timeline of January 6th that was dug up, the more questions were exposed. The U.S. Capitol Police twice told the Pentagon that no additional support was needed that day, according to the Defense Department. A U.S. official notes, “The general attitude from Capitol Police was: ‘We got this. We do this all the time.’”
It’s no wonder the Capitol Police found themselves under a scrutinous public eye when they in fact did not have the situation under control. The Capitol Police are uniquely protected by Congress who exempts them from the Freedom of Information Act–a luxury smaller municipalities would never encounter. Due to the high level of security and intelligence, it is believed to be more dangerous for the public to disclose information under FOIA.
Even given this high level of security and budget of over $500 million annually–the Capitol police still struggle against demands for compliance and lengthy, expensive lawsuits. A year has come and gone and the U.S. Capitol police still find themselves under review for employee communication issues and attempting to repair trust with the public.
Protecting Your Agency
Without the insular protection from Congress, your municipality is susceptible to the seizing of information and devastatingly expensive lawsuits. In 2018 FOIA lawsuits and communication compliance issues reached a record high. Protect yourself and your agency from misuse of interdepartment communication with software that takes the guesswork out of compliance. Evertel offers guaranteed conformity with state and federal level public record laws all while keeping critical intelligence safe. At just $5 per user per day, you can’t afford not to use Evertel’s protection for interdepartment communication and employee communication.