Posts Tagged ‘media reference’

The Cobb County Police Department robocalled me a few minutes after midnight to tell me about a 12-year-old who went missing after last being seen at East Cobb Middle School, about two miles from my house.

I’m assuming that the call was at least targeted to people who lived within a certain distance from the school, or within its attendance area, and I hate to criticize any effort to find a missing child, but this didn’t strike me as the most effective or efficient way to do it. The boy had been missing for about 10 hours, and there wasn’t any indication that he was in imminent danger. Rightly or wrongly, midnight robocalls annoy people, and may even feed into a “Boy Who Cried Wolf” dynamic in which people begin to ignore even useful alerts.

The Interactive Defense System allows a police department to send out targeted alerts based on residents’ addresses and preferences such as text message vs. e-mail vs. automatic voice call. Residents choose the method of delivery and the phone number or e-mail address to be used, so each message has a substantial chance of triggering a productive response.

IDS is built like a social-media platform, and alerts are just one of its many functions, of course. Had Cobb County police been using it yesterday, they could’ve disseminated a photo of the boy instead of relying on the extremely rough description “blue shorts and white shirt” that I half-heard as I was rubbing my eyes in the wee hours.

It looks like the 12-year-old boy who went missing yesterday afternoon was safe and sound early this morning. Whether or not the robocalls helped in this particular case is anybody’s guess.

We’d like to apologize to any of you who have been waiting for our interviews with Shareholder Development Group to be posted. Unfortunately, SDG’s systems were shut down by an electrical storm earlier in the week, and SDG has had technical problems in getting things running again. The first two of the three interviews we mentioned in our press release have been delayed; we hope to hold the first of the three in the next few days, and we’ll certainly post a link to it once it’s complete. Thank you very much for your patience.

UPDATE (MARCH 31, 4:30 p.m.): Stephanie’s on the phone with SDG right now. We hope to have the interview — or a link to it — posted by early tomorrow.

We’re excited about the comprehensive and thorough article about the Interactive Defense System that posted yesterday afternoon. It may be the most important recognition that IDS has received to date — on a website for law-enforcement officers nationwide and published in the middle of a conference on the role of social media in policing. When I last checked, 104 PoliceOne readers had recommended the story on Facebook and at least 20 people had “retweeted” a link to it that PoliceOne posted on Twitter.

A summary paragraph:

IDS is a social network designed specifically for law enforcement, meaning it’s equipped with crime-solving tools as well as privacy and security measures you won’t find on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or YouTube. Its sole purpose is to make communities safer by bridging the gap between departments and civilians.

It goes on to give a great overview of the platform’s development, its features, and how police agencies use it. It includes a video from one of the three segments that appeared on local news channels in the Atlanta area after Dunwoody launched IDS.

The IDS article appears in a package of stories that writer Justin Cox and PoliceOne editors put together for publication during the SMILE (Social Media, the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference, which began Monday and runs through today in Santa Monica, California. The stories are individually linked from PoliceOne’s topic pages for social media and community policing.

screen shot of article

PoliceOne strikes me as an impressively thorough online resource. Social media and community policing are among more than 60 categories on the site. Others include border patrol, corrections (prison) and gangs. The site also has a running feed of police-related news on a range of topics including officer shootings, big arrests, and leadership changes at big-city police departments.

A big thank-you to Justin Cox and and a big salute to the police chiefs in Dunwoody, Clarkston, Santa Monica and others who are keeping with the times and using new technology to promote public safety openly and efficiently.

A survey published last week by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found that 65 percent of internet users in the U.S. have paid for news, entertainment and/or other digital media.

That’s crucial for FargoTube because it strongly reinforces our belief that musicians, filmmakers and other content owners deserve to be compensated for their creations that are distributed online just as they’re compensated for tangible products such as CDs and DVDs. More importantly, this is evidence that content owners can profit from their works, which is the central premise of the FargoTube business model. Artists don’t have to post their videos and music for free consumption, merely as an attempt to steer fans to their discs and live performances, and they don’t have to rely on ad-funded sites like YouTube, which share a far smaller portion of their revenue than the 70 percent that FargoTube shares.

The Pew report has drawn extensive news coverage in the last few days, both on tech blogs and in the mainstream media.

This was the first time that Pew surveyed Americans’ spending on online media, but I think it’s safe to assume that 65 percent is a big jump from a couple of years ago. (Taking into account that a quarter of the people in the survey don’t use the internet, only 49 percent of Americans buy online content. That percentage has also surely grown quickly and will continue to do so.)

I think people are becoming more willing to pay for digital content for two main reasons. First, they’re spending more of their time online. It’s worth the investment to them because they know they’ll either be at their computer or have an appropriately equipped mobile device on hand at the moment they want to listen to the music, watch the video or play the game that they download.

The second big reason is that individual online content providers and distributors are differentiating themselves from one another, thanks partly to faster internet connection speeds. They offer a wide range of interactive features, including many that were impossible in the days of dial-up and even DSL. Internet users can no longer drift away to a different site that has exactly the same content and presentation.

I think FargoTube is a great example of this differentiation, especially in terms of presentation. FargoTube’s social-networking format is unique among online video platforms. Subscribers to a FargoTube fan site can interact with each other and with the bands, authors and filmmakers whose works they buy. Subscribers can share their own videos of concert footage with one another and even sell that footage, subject to the approval of the content owner behind the fan site.

The Dunwoody Police Department is drawing more and more attention and praise for its use of social media, including its recent adoption of the Interactive Defense System.

The International Association of Chiefs of Police is spotlighting Dunwoody on a section of the IACP website dedicated to social media. The DeKalb Champion newspaper also highlighted Dunwoody’s use of social media this week.

As detailed by the IACP and the Champion, Dunwoody PD began using Twitter in early 2009, when it was rare for law-enforcement agencies to do so. Even by September 2010, only about 24 percent of departments were using Twitter, according my quick calculations using numbers from an IACP survey. DPD also appears to have been ahead of the curve in using Facebook (used by 54 percent of departments surveyed in September 2010) and YouTube (14 percent).

Dunwoody adopted Interactive Defense a few weeks after the platform’s launch this summer. Within just a couple of months, officers credited IDS with helping  to bring in two suspected criminals.  The IACP found that social media had helped solve crimes in about 45 percent of the jurisdictions it surveyed. We expect that number to be higher in next year’s survey as more law enforcement agencies begin using Interactive Defense.

On that note, we at F3 Technologies and Interactive Defense, LLC, would like to wish you all a happy and safe new year. We also wish you a crime-free 2011 look forward to helping you and your city in that regard!

The Interactive Defense System is generating more news coverage, this time from 9-1-1 Dispatch.

The magazine published this article after editor Gary Allen saw earlier news coverage and asked me a few questions via e-mail. It gives a concise overview of IDS’s features and it serves as a great introduction to our platform for the police chiefs and police communications specialists who read the magazine:

IDS is a set of on-line applications that provide community alerting, crime mapping, home watch scheduling and other features that are easily accessible by anyone with an Internet connection.

… The Dunwoody (Geo.) police department was an early adopter of IDS, and officials there say a wide range of city residents are using the IDS features. DPD officials credit IDS with the recent capture of three suspects after they were profiled on the Web site.

A big thank-you to Mr. Allen and 9-1-1 Dispatch!

Early-stage buzz like this is helping to generate interest among other police chiefs in the Atlanta area and beyond. As we mentioned in a conference call yesterday afternoon, IDS is being offered free of charge to the first three to five police departments that adopt it. We’re seeing increasing indications that these police chiefs’ foresight — along with the resulting news coverage — will help to bring in paying customers in a matter of months.

Note: an initial version of the 9-1-1 Dispatch article mistakenly identified F3’s partner in IDS as “Noble Ventures, Inc.” In fact, the corporation’s name is “Noble Heroes, Inc.”


Jason Muenzer of Noble Heroes, Inc., F3’s partner in anti-crime, sent along a link to this article about the Interactive Defense System that published yesterday.

It’s very well written, and I believe it’s more comprehensive than earlier articles and TV reports about IDS. It even contains a few details on one of the arrests that were new to me:

The first happened just days before the site went live. Officers were investigating a home burglary in Dunwoody, and sent an email out to a neighborhood watch group – within the hour, a person wrote in with information about the vehicle they’d seen at the scene of the crime.

Within three days, police had a warrant on the vehicle. The suspect’s mug shot and information was put onto Interactive Defense, and he was later identified when a news program showed the mug shot on air.

But what led to the identification was the initial email, (Ofc. William) Furman said, which was the old way of doing things.

“That’s kind of what we started with,” Furman said. “We were relying on a grapevine email technique.”

This is particularly interesting because it illustrates how police rely on a variety of crime-fighting tools. We’re happy to be one more weapon in their arsenal!

Just FYI, is a network of local news websites run by AOL. I think this is the first article I’ve seen, but I’ll make sure it’s not the last. A big thank you to Patch and writer Peter Cox.

This morning’s press release on Interactive Defense’s role in helping Dunwoody police bring in two criminal suspects has been getting some good attention. Lt. Raymond Foster posted it on his law-enforcement blog and then tweeted it to his 2,900 followers, the bulk of whom are in law enforcement and supporting industries.

And this afternoon, Atlanta Journal Constitution cops-and-courts reporter Andria Simmons posted a brief story about the two suspects. It showed up in the AJC’s feed of top breaking news.

A big thank-you to Lt. Foster and Andria Simmons, and to Dunwoody police officers for their expanding fight against crime!

Dunwoody Police tell us that the Interactive Defense System has helped them locate and arrest two fugitives who are suspects in recent crimes.

More than 1,300 households, roughly 10 percent of Dunwoody’s total, have registered themselves as users on IDS since the department launched it in early October. Two suspects were taken into custody after their pictures appeared on the system and in local television news reports about the department’s use of IDS.

An Atlanta-area woman suspected of counterfeiting surrendered to authorities last week after an acquaintance saw her picture and a “wanted” notice on Dunwoody’s IDS network.

Separately, a 20-year-old male fugitive turned himself in after a local television news station showed an image of him as it appeared on IDS. Authorities had issued arrest warrants for the man in connection with two burglaries.

“These two cases are clear evidence of Interactive Defense’s power to help citizens and city agencies work together in a successful fight against crime,” said Paul Campbell, chief operating officer for F3 Technologies, Inc., which co-owns Interactive Defense, LLC, in a joint venture with Noble Heroes, Inc. “Real-life incidents like these demonstrate the system’s capabilities for the numerous other public-safety agencies now seeking to harness the power of social networks.”

IDS helps Dunwoody police officers to stay in closer contact with local residents and businesses. It allows police to give community residents immediate notification of missing children and criminal suspects who pose a threat. It allows users to share crime tips more directly with officers and with each other, request officer assistance, notify officers when their homes will be vacant due to moves or vacation, and register vehicles and other valuables for easier identification in the event of theft.

“Interactive Defense is part of our strategy to fight crime on all fronts,” Dunwoody Police Officer William Furman said. “It’s crucial to our goal of keeping citizens involved in community policing, and they love it.”

IDS is a specialized version of F3’s Interaction Community Systems networking solution for homeowners associations and other member groups. One IDS module, the Safety Center, is for both officers and residents. A second, HeroSpace, is for officers and other municipal employees.

In the Safety Center, a feature unique to IDS, police and residents can trade up-to-the-minute information on important safety issues. Another feature, HeroSpace, is a professional network for firefighters, police officers and other municipal employees that helps improve departmental efficiency, improve collaboration with residents, and limit environmental impact by reducing the need for paper documents.

Furman said officers from a much larger metro-Atlanta law-enforcement agency recently contacted Dunwoody to explore the possibility of adopting IDS.

“Other law-enforcement agencies are considering Interactive Defense for the same reasons that led Dunwoody Police to adopt it,” Campbell said. “They want to engage citizens by providing a more personal experience, for example by communicating directly and immediately with citizens in targeted areas, by giving access to officers’ background information, by allowing citizens to communicate directly with specific officers. They want to improve residents’ confidence in police service. And they want to provide their officers with a professional networking solution.”

The Interactive Defense System has been getting some great media coverage for following our October 5 announcement that the Dunwoody (Georgia) Police Department has installed it and invited residents to join. As you may know, IDS is a communications platform for citizens, cities and public-safety agencies. More than 1,200 Dunwoody residents have signed on to its IDS network, thanks in part to the TV reports.

Screen capture of CBS-Atlanta interviewing Dunwoody Police Chief Billy Grogan

CBS-Atlanta affiliate aired a segment on an afternoon broadcast in mid-October that focussed, somewhat strangely, on a resident’s concerns about giving her address to police. From what I understand, the station followed up at 6 p.m. or 11 p.m. with a more positive spin, which apparently answers the questions that the first broadcast set up.

We were especially thrilled at the two-minute segment that WSB-TV, Atlanta’s ABC affiliate, aired last week. It presented a fairly thorough summary of IDS’s functions and interviews with police officers and a Dunwoody resident who has been active on the system.

And 11 Alive, Atlanta’s NBC affiliate, aired its own report on Dunwoody Police and IDS last night at 11 p.m.–shorter than the others, but positive. It included a nice explanation of IDS’s Filing Cabinet feature.

A big thank-you to all three stations and to Dunwoody residents and police!

This post was updated with a link to 11 Alive’s report after the report aired.