FBINAA - May 2022 catalog

Continued from "Going Mobile", on page 19

Now that BMPD has smartphones deployed to all officers, the agency is looking for ways to use that technology foundation to add other capabilities. Tolbert says that officers are encour - aged to use the phones to leverage any information that can help them be more effective in the field and to make suggestions as to apps that would be beneficial. "Overall, the mobile deployment has allowed our officers to be more productive and safer while performing law enforcement duties," Tolbert said. "We're very grateful for the Spirt of Blue grant and the Connecting Heroes program." LIVINGSTON COUNTY, MISSOURI, SHERIFF'S OFFICE Livingston County is a rural county in northwestern Missouri with a population of approximately 15,000 and covering an area of about 540 square miles. Livingston County Sheriff Steve Cox is a lifelong resident of the county and has served in law enforcement for 35 years. He oversees an agency with ten authorized deputy positions, three of which are currently vacant. With this level of staffing, Cox, who was elected sheriff in 2001, is frequently in the field serving papers or performing bailiff duties at the court. Cox said his agency deployed smartphones as a result of starting a body-worn camera program. While at a conference, Cox heard about Visual Labs , a software company that turns a smartphone into an effective body-worn camera (BWC). Cox was intrigued and learned the company had partnered with T-Mobile to provide a cost-effective BWC solution using a smartphone that was part of the Connecting Heroes program. “I wanted to make sure it would fit our needs,” Cox said. “I had two deputies do field testing with the Visual Labs unit and a body-worn camera from another vendor that had all the ‘bells and whistles.’ ”The deputies preferred Visual Labs for the quality and the ease of use,” Cox said. “We talked to the county commission about funding the project and we got some help from some nice people in the county; plus, the company worked with us to make it happen.” Cox said the reps from T-Mobile and Visual Labs helped bring everything together, and the smartphones – Samsung A52’s with Visual Labs software - were rolled out in August of 2021. “I think it’s awesome that they can partner together,” he said. “I can’t say enough good things about them. Our whole department is happy.” The Livingston County Sheriff’s Office (LCSO) now has several months’ experience with using a smartphone as a chest-mounted BWC and the system has been well received by the deputies and the courts. Deputies can quickly categorize incidents and easily locate relevant video evidence. “I’ve been in court when officers from another agency have had difficulty locating video that’s needed in a case. It doesn’t sit well with the jury,” Cox said. “With our system I’ve actually had defense attorneys compliment our deputies and their presenta- tion of evidence. It’s so easy to use and sharing with the prosecu - tors is very straightforward.” LCSO has realized so much operational benefit from the rollout of smartphones equipped as BWCs, the agency is planning to add in-car video cameras using Visual Labs. “They have a great system that provides two-camera capability [front-facing and rear-seat coverage]. It will feed to the same cloud system that

the body-worn cameras utilize and that the deputies use to send videos to the prosecutor’s office,” Cox said. Equipping deputies with smartphones has significantly improved his agency’s engagement with the citizens of Livingston County, according to Cox. “Deputies regularly reach out to witnesses or victims using their smartphones for follow-up, and it saves a lot of time,” he said. “And we’ve found that people are much more likely to answer because the number isn’t blocked [i.e., deputies are not calling from the law enforcement center].” REASONS FOR GOING MOBILE Smartphones provide a high level of utility to field officers, saving time and facilitating quick communications. Tasks like contacting the parents of a runaway juvenile or checking space availability at a homeless shelter can be accomplished quickly, rather than tying up radio time and going through a dispatcher. A picture of a wanted subject or missing child can be distributed immediately among officers and a photo is significantly more ef - fective than a description broadcast over the radio. Smartphones can also be used to gather photo or video evidence, enable report dictation, support e-citations, manage body-worn cameras, and remotely access agency-controlled CCTV devices. In short, the smartphone can effectively replace many single-purpose devices and provide officers with capabilities and information access they would not otherwise have. AGENCY-OWNED OVER BYOD Some agencies have allowed or encouraged their officers to use their personal smartphones for work purposes, but this approach is not ideal in law enforcement. Questions quickly arise regarding evidence and privacy. And if an agency plans to let of- ficers use their own smartphones to search criminal justice data - bases, additional measures must be taken to achieve compliance with the security policy of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) division, as well as the rules set by the relevant state’s CJIS Systems Agency. In fact, CJIS policy discourages agen - cies from relying on a Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) approach, citing the costly compensating controls and the imposition of security restrictions on private devices (CJIS Policy Appendix G4). Deploying smartphones to field personnel offers clear operational benefits, but many agency leaders assume that agency-wide deployment would be cost-prohibitive, partly due to the ongoing wireless service fees (often cited as the reason for choosing BYOD). Now, agency leaders have reason to reevaluate their position and run the numbers. With free wireless service and substantial savings on a wide range of devices, the Connecting Heroes program, which applies only to department-owned de - vices, helps to overcome budget challenges and presents a new opportunity for agencies to gain connected-officer capability. If you would like to learn more about how other depart - ments are using the smartphone as an effective force-multiplier, check out the case study of five agencies using T-Mobile’s Con- necting Heroes program. To find out more about emerging tech - nologies that will leverage 5G wireless service to improve future public safety effectiveness, take a look at Transforming Public Safety with Wireless Technology .

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