Posts Tagged ‘police’

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.

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We’re excited about the comprehensive and thorough article about the Interactive Defense System that PoliceOne.com 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 PoliceOne.com 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.

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!

Interactive Defense’s updated, overhauled website is now live at http://www.interactivedefense.com.

The site includes several new pages with additional information about IDS, and will eventually include a demonstration video in Flash and possibly interfaces that will be modeled on those used by our customers — police officers and city residents.

A couple of weeks ago, the service signed its first major customer, a forward-thinking and influential police department in the metro-Atlanta area. We’ll make a more formal announcement in conjunction with the city in the next couple of weeks when the city is ready to launch its own multimedia awareness campaign.

Meanwhile, we’re moving forward in discussions with public-safety agencies in several other sizable cities. The overhauled website is part of the next phase: making it easier for new client cities to adopt IDS in a smoother, more automated fashion that won’t require extensive visits to the cities, as the first few rollouts are requiring.

Interactive Defense System is a groundbreaking platform for city residents and police officers to communicate with one another. It allows police to put out immediate text- and e-mail alerts on missing children, criminal suspects and dangerous situations. It allows residents to share crime tips more directly with officers and with each other, request officer assistance, and notify police when their homes will be vacant due to moves or vacation.

Interactive Defense, LLC, is a joint venture of F3 Technologies, Inc., and Noble Heroes, Inc. IDS is a specialized version of F3’s Interaction Community Systems networking solution for homeowners associations and other member groups. Several common features and the ability to connect the two platforms translate into sales synergy: When city governments and public-safety agencies adopt IDS, residents in those cities get a look at what Interaction can do for their homeowners associations and realize how easy it is to adopt Interaction.

IDS includes two unique virtual networks: Safety Center for community members and HeroSpace for municipal employees. The Safety Center allows police and residents to trade up-to-the-minute information on important safety issues. HeroSpace is a professional network for firefighters, police officers and other municipal employees that fosters interdepartmental collaboration and the efficient use of time and resources.

A police department can invite residents to join its Interactive Defense network using contact information that other municipal departments already have on file. In most cases, residents and municipal employees will be able to access Interactive Defense through one or more of the city’s existing websites.