Thursday, August 4, 2011

Brief me where I am

Every day at Lincoln Fire & Rescue, a short conference phone call is held, connecting all the fire stations.  Special events, assignments, upcoming training, and similar information is exchanged in about 10 minutes. 
Ten times every day, a similar briefing is held at Lincoln Police Department HQ.  It happens 10 times daily because of the variety of overlapping shift schedules.  It’s the same kind of information as at LF&R, with some highlights added about such things as recent crimes and persons-of-interest.

Beginning in the summer of 2005, LPD started using web conferencing (gotomeeting.com) to conduct the shift briefing, as a means of getting the content of the duty commander’s computer monitor out to the substations where around 95 employees begin their workday.  It has worked splendidly.  No one really needs to see the shift commander’s smiling face, but everyone needs to see the photo of the stolen 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipse, the map of the most recent street robberies, and the mug shot of the dangerous suspect that is on the loose.

This year, as we have been deploying our new location-based services application, P3i, we have also been loading gotomeeting’s mobile application on the iPhones and iPads.  With a broadband connection on your laptop, or with an iPhone or iPad, you can join the shift briefing (we call it “lineup”) remotely.  I’ve been doing that regularly for years on my laptop from home or on the road, but about a year ago I switched mostly to using the iPad app.  The latest version works on both iPad and iPhone, and I tried it out this week for the first time on my phone.  It worked fine, and the small screen was not much of an issue for the types of things Capt. Jim Davidsaver was covering during the briefing. 

Daily shift briefings like this are occurring nationwide (actually, worldwide) in police departments.  I predict that in the future, lineup will be a quaint anachronism, and the virtual meeting or web conference will be the primary means by which this information exchange is accomplished.  It just makes sense. 

7 comments:

Clueless said...

Have trustworthy independent experts evaluated the security of these systems?

TenMile said...

Chief; What is your take on group unity using this remote viewing? What effect, do you think, on various ethnic, neighborhood groupies? Strictly within the uniformed services of the city.

Anonymous said...

Is there any sense of camaraderie, or "band of brothers/sisters", that will be lost if the physical presence of daily "line up" shifts totally to screen presence? Are there enough other opportunities for officers to have face time so that they know each other and maintain that important level of trust, compassion and empathy that develops best with proximity? I'm all for using technology, but I'm worried about losing that human factor. I think technology is best used to augment our human senses, intuitions and gut feelings.

Tom Casady said...

TenMile and 10:44-

This is the one thing that might cause the traditional police roll call to survive. It's no longer the need to get everyone informed, but the real or perceived benefit of rubbing shoulders briefly with your comrades.

Here's some things you've never seen if you are under 40: an elevator attendant, a photomat, onion skin, a genuine teletype, an IBM punch card, etc., etc.. Things have a way of changing under our feet.

Keep in mind that there are tens of thousands of police officers on duty right now who came on duty solo, and will remain that way all shift--small police departments, sheriff's deputies with take-home patrol cars, troopers in far-flung outposts.

Anonymous said...

With all this technology making things easier it also makes you think about another serious crime wave developing: Hacking. It seems like foreign governments are even participating in this as well. Pretty scary stuff.

JIM J said...

The post "Brief me where I am" would work well with the nude guy walking down the street that you had a topic on several weeks ago..

Anonymous said...

Jim J.: HAHAHAHA!! That's funny!