Public Safety Empowered with Mobile Apps

Public Safety Empowered with Mobile Apps

It’s no secret that mobile devices are everywhere and mobile compatibility is increasingly important. Cell phones are no longer extra gadgets to have, but are instead necessary for everyday life and communication. More than 90% of adults own a cell phone, with 64% owning smartphones (Pew Research Center, 2014).

In order to stay relevant in specific markets, many organizations are creating mobile applications and the public safety industry is no exception. With the emergence of these various sector-specific applications, public safety organizations can take advantage of the new technologies to help save lives. Public safety officials are now empowered with easy access to information, situational awareness, and better communication.

  1. On-the-go access to information. Real-time information in any location is invaluable for public safety. Mobile apps provide officers in the field with evidence, leads, and social information right at their fingertips. Smartphones give officers the ability to access the information at any time, without the hassle of using bulky computers or other systems stationed at headquarters. Responders must deploy very quickly and many times do not have the time to gather information beforehand. Boots on the ground officers can take comfort in the fact that the information in their hands is up-to-date and accurate while they are on their way to emergency situations.

  2. Instant situational awareness. Not only is information conveniently delivered to mobile devices, but the information collected on mobile applications is extremely relevant and helpful. Many applications provide social and location data as well as reveal trending information or topics for investigation. Having this information allows officers to prioritize topics and discover more background information for investigations. Having situational awareness while on a scene keeps officers better prepared for any occurrence.

  3. Quick and easy communication. Officers at the station can organize information that can be immediately sent to an officer in the field, and that information can be presented in an understandable format on a mobile application. No information is lost in translation or left out of the transfer. Public safety officials must pay attention to details, and with quick and easy communication through mobile, it has become easier than ever for officers to share data and be confident no information is lost.

Mobile has dramatically improved the way public safety officers can gather information and respond to situations. The following mobile applications are some of the most relevant resources available in the public safety industry.

  • Palantir: Palantir mobile allows public safety officers to access law enforcement data from multiple sources in one place. The platform integrates and unifies intelligence for an easier understanding of available information. The mobile application allows officers to access this information while in the field. A more cohesive understanding of the situation is possible with the information shared and accessed by both analysts in an operations center and officers on the go.

  • CLEAR (Citizen and Law Enforcement Analysis and Reporting): The Chicago Police Department developed CLEAR technology, which provides information about criminal offenders in Chicago and Cook County. The database houses records of arrests and criminal history so officers can quickly search for persons of interest. Officers have access to this system while in the field for fast and accurate information. The technology is shared with police departments throughout the state. Police departments around the country have similar programs and are developing custom built apps.

  • Waze: The Waze community-based traffic and navigation app is used by public safety officials to monitor traffic in their jurisdictions as well as understand what people are sharing about hazards or events in specific locations. 

  • Geofeedia: Geofeedia, a leader in location-based social media intelligence, aggregates social media content from seven major social channels in real-time and can present analytics and sentiment data. Keyword searches are available and individual users can be identified and monitored. The mobile application is both a continuation of the desktop platform and has the ability to start new intelligence monitoring.

  • Whatsapp/Viber: Mobile applications like Whatsapp and Viber allow people to communicate outside of their home networks similar to SMS or texting. Public safety officials can use theses apps to more easily communicate with important contacts. The apps are especially useful for international communication.

As mobile applications for law enforcement continue to develop, public safety organizations will continue to improve communication and response time. Technology has changed the way these organizations operate, and mobile has empowered officers with more resources and tools to protect and serve.  It is vital – and easy – for public safety to incorporate the many tools at their fingertips.

About the Author

Phil Harris, CEO of Geofeedia

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