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5 Reasons the Army is issuing iPhone and Android Smartphones to Troops

social media and law enforcementThe Army budget morphs that of individual law enforcement agencies, but thinking outside the box seems to be consistent on the battle field. The US Army is going to equip their field soldiers on the front lines with iPhones and or Android mobile device as soon as the Spring of 2011. I originally saw an article on www.digitaltrends.com and tracked the original information to the www.armytimes.com website. As a mobile device evangelist, enthusiast, I find the Army’s action to be an obvious technology progression of both physical mobile devices and web 2.0 technologies. Below are 5 reasons why the Army is issuing mobile devices to troops.

social media and law enforcement

1)Portability- Mobile devices are small enough to slip into a pants pocket, jacket pocket, ruck sack, duffle bag, etc.

2) Powerful- Smartphone’s have become mini laptops in the last year or so and upcoming generations of these devices will boast duo core processors, increased graphics, more HD video capture models and overall more power.

3) Real Time Intelligence- At war smart phones would let soldiers view real-time intelligence and video from unmanned systems overhead. Drones would be able to provide intelligence to field personnel via smartphone. While this certainly already occurs with laptops, laptops are unreasonable to carry individually.

social media and law enforcement

4) Real Time Maps- Track friends and enemies on dynamic maps, this could certainly be life saving.

5) Real Time Information- Soldiers will have the opportunity to use network searches, email, MMS, and get information real time while in critical situations, through individual mobile devices.

My first thought was how are the soldiers going to access a network? Not to worry, the Army has already been working on this with basically a portable or mobile cell tower that would provide soldiers a mobile network in battlefield situations. There really is no argument why this is not a brilliant move by the Army to equip their troops with more information. Does law enforcement see the same benefit as the Army does from mobile devices? I think issuing police officers iPhone and or Android smartphone’s is also a no brainer, what do you think?

This blog post original appeared on 12/19/10 Social Media Five-O by Michael F. Vallez

Brave New World: Wireless Access Technologies and the Impact on Policing

Part two of a three-part series

It’s remarkable how many companies have begun research and development of broadband capabilities for public safety. Third Generation  (3G), Fourth Generation (4G) and all the latest devices are moving toward wireless access technologies known as Long Term Evolution (LTE) and WiMax. Regardless of which network is used, public safety will go in one of two directions – proprietary solutions, which is the current law enforcement experience with vendors, or an open architecture approach, which allows any radio spectrum on any device.

For many of us, a cellular device or smart phone is an item we take for granted and we can’t wait for each week’s new applications to come out. In public safety, officers apply many capabilities in DNA, prints and biometrics, yet there is no way to quickly access these from the field. That’s why companies like Raytheon advocate for open architecture as it’ll provide officers with the information they need now to do their jobs efficiently – and effectively.

With LTE or WiMax, the ways you use the current hand-held radio on your belt and the phone in your pocket merge.

Through wireless technology in the field, officers will be able to:

  • Check prints
  • Run suspects
  • Determine facial recognition
  • Check probation/parole records
  • Check criminal records
  • Access past arrest and crime reports

These are just a few examples and it’s encouraging that police executives and IT professionals in public safety are finally demanding these new capabilities in program development.

As true open architecture devices are built, the possibilities that exist in our collective imagination will begin to take on real-life relevance. It’s a great time to be a cop!

This post is part two of a three-part series.
Part one is here: “What Open Architecture Systems Mean to a Field Cop”
Part three is here: “3G, 4G, LTE – What Does It Mean?”

Mike Bostic

Mike Bostic was with the LAPD for 34 years. He held every significant command up to Assistant Chief. Mr. Bostic is currently working in communications technology/public safety at Raytheon. He will also provide the closing keynote address on Wednesday Jan 12th at The SMILE (Social Media the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference in Santa Monica. Find him on Twitter – @mikebostic

What Open Architecture Systems Mean to a Field Cop

Part one of a three-part series

I recently spent some time with two LAPD officers and their actions reminded me that when field officers have real communications work to do, they reach for their smart phone. After receiving several messages over the radio, the officers used cell phones to make calls and get more information. They even used Google Maps, once to view the house they were going to and another time to direct responding units to the precise part of the house and block to cover.

It’s ironic that while these officers can engage in social media, watch videos and browse the Internet on their personal smart phones, they aren’t provided the same – or better – wireless technologies out in the field. In fact, these officers asked me why they couldn’t access criminal records, photos and printing capabilities – all tasks that smart phones are capable of accomplishing. When I explained that the type of systems integration they’re looking for exists, I had their attention.

Everyone in law enforcement is all too aware that as budgets continue to shrink, departments are being forced to make some tough decisions. During times like these, understanding the basic systems of communications that link officers to each other and to the information they need in the field can take a backseat to what is seen as more pressing budgetary issues. But once decision makers realize what field cops instinctively know – that smart phones are the future – departments will move quickly to adopt the technologies that already exist.

Long Term Evolution (LTE) technologies will soon offer exactly what field officers are looking for, with open architecture that lets any communications device work on a secure network.

With this type of technology, police officers would see multiple changes in their daily operations, including:

  • Better interagency communication during major events;
  • The capability to communicate with any public agencies on any system;
  • Public communications systems that could be set to operate with public safety in emergencies;
  • Effectively operating and connecting any type of communications devices, from cell phones to radios and telephones, on the same system;
  • The ability to connect officers to any communications network through an open architecture gateway that is not propriety. In other words, you could have more than an original equipment manufacturer has available on their system alone; and
  • A software drive that can be updated to future LTE, 4G and 3G technologies.

This is a technology overhaul that’s long been needed in the area of public safety. It’s time to start the revolution.

This post is part one of a three-part series.
Part two is here: “Brave New World: Wireless Access Technologies and the Impact on Policing”
Part three is here: “3G, 4G, LTE – What Does It Mean?”

Mike Bostic

Mike Bostic was with the LAPD for 34 years. He held every significant command up to Assistant Chief. Mr. Bostic is currently working in communications technology/public safety at Raytheon. He will also provide the closing keynote address on Wednesday Jan 12th at The SMILE (Social Media the Internet and Law Enforcement) Conference in Santa Monica. Find him on Twitter – @mikebostic

Creating a Social Media Engaged Agency

Kicking off The SMILE Conference is an honor, but my real pride rests with the Social Media presence of the Arcadia Police Department.  There is no doubt it is imperative for law enforcement agencies to participate in the world of Social Media, but moreover, if we are to participate – we must engage!  Sitting on the sidelines listening or creating accounts only in name, simply scratches the surface of Social Media.  Our naysayers believe that law enforcement acts like “big brother” and only uses Social Media as the latest intelligence tool to gather information.  True engagement with your community and beyond is what today’s law enforcement needs.  Law enforcement leaders can discuss credibility and transparency, but the true testament to these traits can only be shown through action.

I will give SMILE participants a brief look into our version of an engaged agency.  There are many ways to conduct business, many ways to research and develop strategy, and many ways to then implement your plan.  However, this process can be a difficult one for many reasons: “old school” peers or administrators; lack of source information and working examples; fear of the untested; or simply saying, “let someone else do it first.”  These are just a few of the reasons that Arcadia’s presence began with a rogue police association blog.  Over the course of the following year or two, our administration began to see the value in Social Media as a developing tool for law enforcement.  Today, we continue to build our presence in Social Media by participating with an official agency blog, Twitter and Facebook pages, on-going construction of a YouTube channel, and through networking with other active Social Media participants in many fields, not just limited to law enforcement.  Other tools are also being used to compliment and extend our community engagement, such as Nixle (instant communication), Crime Mapping, and traditional avenues like newsletters and in-person presentations.

Law enforcement tools and technology are ever-changing and evolving.  The differences in training and tools of the trade in my short 25 plus years as a police officer are immense: the revolver and “speedy loaders” have been shelved; every officer in the field now has a portable radio, and some, a department PDA or smartphone; we no longer use a ticker tape style machine to conduct warrant checks; our police units have computers with Internet access; training is mandated and standardized; introduction of community policing theory has led to new practices; crime analysis is now the norm and predictive policing is the future.  The list could go on, but the point is that Social Media is simply a new tool and application that is available for our use.  The difference is that Social Media is not limited to law enforcement, it is now a standard in society, and its use has become an expectation by our community members.  Unlike jury duty – we are not exempt.

By providing some examples of my experiences and the journey of the Arcadia Police Department, I hope to make you better prepared to lead your agency along the road to truly creating an engaged agency in today’s world of Social Media.

Sgt Tom Le Veque of Arcadia PD is the first presenter at The SMILE Conference. Le Veque is a law enforcement social media pioneer. He has successfully developed a social media presence for Arcadia PD and has provided example and encouragement to fellow law officers. Sergeant Tom Le Veque has served with the Arcadia Police Department since 1987, promoting to Sergeant in 1991. Prior to that, Tom was a Police Officer for the City of San Marino Police Department from 1984-1987. Tom has been a driving force behind many of Arcadia’s innovative programs such as Video Parking Enforcement and Neighborhood Speed Watch. Most recently, Sergeant Le Veque has taken the Arcadia Police Department to a new level of community interaction and involvement by developing a web presence with a Department Blog, Facebook, Twitter, and Nixle pages. Arcadia is one of the first agencies in Los Angeles County to truly enter and embrace SMILE. He was recently a panelist at the California Peace Officers’ Association, 2010 Training Symposium.

Dear Law Officer,

This post is dedicated to Detective Brown and Detective Burke of the West Haven, Connecticut Police Department.

You can save a life. You may not be aware that it is happening—it could be a simple conversation, a violent interaction, or just your presence in a situation. Some small part of your day-to-day that you wouldn’t normally blink at could be the life changing moment for someone else. It was for me.

I was dragged into the station on two counts of mail fraud. Who knew that sending threatening letters to people through the mail would be a federal offense? I had already stolen (or in my words, “borrowed’) two cars and had been caught shop lifting, “that’s the last time I train a newbie”, I thought to myself. To me, I was there to get my hand slapped and sent on my merry way. Detective Brown had other plans for me. I was thirteen years old.

The police in my town had become common house guests at Chez Duane. Mom had been dating a very violent man who thought that a good time was blacking out and trying to kill us. That was a typical Monday night. I hated this man with every fiber of my being, to the point of contemplating his demise, which preoccupied much of my time. How could my mother allow for this man to pound on her like a bakery kneads fresh dough, while her babies watched in helpless horror? How could she take the money my dad provided so that she and Jon could get so drunk and high that they wouldn’t remember anything the next morning? And how could this woman invite the cops into our home every night and pretend like everything was fine? I was convinced that this was the eighth wonder of the world.

The cops knew everything was far from fine; but honestly, what could they do? Even when I would speak out against her, I had no clout. It was her house and I—I was a prisoner in what seemed like a minimum security prison. Of course, I could always leave. But at that point, where could I go? My father was in financial ruin from the divorce and living with my grandparents. Plus, I wouldn’t go alone. There were three of us at the time and I refused to split us up. It just wasn’t an option.

So, here I am, sitting in the interrogation room of the West Haven police station waiting for the slap on my wrists. The tangerine colored plastic chairs were extremely uncomfortable to sit in, yet alone squirm. I found myself wondering why eternity was so long.

Finally, a tall, svelte black detective came in. I don’t remember him, I thought. When you have cops in your house every day, you think you know everyone.

“Ja-Naé, I’m Detective Brown and you, my dear, are in a lot of trouble.”

“Please! Tell me something I haven’t heard before”, I said. “God, I am such a bad ass”, I thought.

“Well, ok. Let’s get to it. This is it. You have two federal offenses against you right now. The family you’re harassing originally wanted to press charges until we explained your situation at home. Their hearts go out to you and they’re willing to drop the charges.”

“Wait a F*&^ing moment! Who’s talking? It’s no one’s business. What the F*&^!!!”

(NOTE: I had some anger! But honestly, could you blame me?)

“Ja-Naé, listen up! This is it. If you ever breathe wrong, we have to turn you to the state. You’d be owned by them until your eighteenth birthday. That means no regular school, no friends, nothing. It’s juvenile detention, missy.”

I remained as still and silent as I possibly could. I didn’t give a rat’s ass, but I liked creating a pensive affect. Listen, just lock me away. It doesn’t matter. Then I could actually have some peace.

Detective Brown could tell that he was far from penetrating my stoicism. I was sitting across from him, working on my best statue imitation and trying to turn my eyes into two icy daggers that would pierce his heart. Refocusing my eyes I would look. Was it working? “There must be a secret way to do that”, I thought.

After a short staring contest, the detective leaned in putting both elbows on the table and lowered his head. Then very softly, he spoke:

“Ja-Naé, we are all so sorry for what you’ve been going through at home. It sucks. It really does and many of us wish there was something we could do. J, if you go away, what will happen to your siblings? Who will feed them or protect them from Jon? It won’t be your mom. I know he hasn’t gone after you guys, but honestly, it’s only a matter of time. It you’re gone, what will happen to them? You are their protector. They have no one else. You have a choice to turn your life around, to make something of yourself, and help those kids out. They need you. So, what are you going to do?”

It was a sobering realization for me because he was right and I knew it. What would happen to them if I got put away? How could I live with myself if I allowed that monster to hurt them? Yes, a change needed to occur.

That conversation sparked a ton of revolutions and changes in my life. I changed who I was hanging out with, I began going to Alateen meetings to find ways to cope with the insanity. I even lost 65 pounds. And though those were my immediate changes, they allowed me to make better choices throughout my life.

Things did not get better at home, but much worse. Jon had been imprisoned several times for his abuse and attempted murder. I continued to let our guests in our home on a regular basis until I left for college. But I had changed and I always made sure the kids were ok.

Detective Brown and I never spoke again after that day. It does not change the fact that a simple conversation with a detective that really cared, saved me and has helped shape the woman I am today.

Thank you to all of you who work so hard and may not understand how and why sometimes you touch and shape more lives than you know.

Ja-Naé Duane

Ja-Naé Duane is a strategist, artist, creative economist, and author of “How to Start Your Business with $100”. Ja-Naé has been written about and seen in dozens of media outlet, including the Associated Press, NPR, Classical Singer Magazine, Boston Globe, and Business Week. Mostly recognized for her diverse skill set and unwavering commitment to improving the quality of life for our global community, Ja-Naé was nominated as one of New England’s “Most Innovative Leaders of 2007.” She is CEO of Wild Women Entrepreneurs, CEO of Ja-Naé Duane Ventures, Co-Founder of the Massachusetts Artist Leaders Coalition, and Founder of The Leaders. Ja-Naé is also a professional opera singer, social media strategist, and a faculty member at Northeastern University.

Note from Lauri Stevens: I met Ja-Naé Duane at a #140Conf Tweetup in Boston a couple months back. She told me this story when she learned of my work and I invited her to tell it here. While it doesn’t have anything to do with social media or the Internet, I thought it would be appropriate to use social media to deliver her appreciative words to Detectives Brown and Burke. Because of the men and women in law enforcement who work every day to keep their piece of the homeland safe, we have much to be thankful for. #tacop (Thank-A-Cop-Thursday) this Thanksgiving Thursday, and every day.

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