California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 16

iCops: The integration of law enforcement and the Internet Nestled in the heart of the Silicon Valley, the number one region in the U.S. for innovation and technology, lies Mountain View, a city that quietly boasts an impressive resident population of 75,000. This population almost doubles with the daytime workforce from numerous high tech companies such as Google, Microsoft, and LinkedIn, as well as the various industry startups and venture capitalists that punctuate the city’s landscape. The combination of these varied elements makes Mountain View a unique location for the intersection of traditional law enforcement methodology and groundbreaking Internet technology. A typical day for a Mountain View Police Department (MVPD) officer; 0530 hours, MVPD officers assigned to the weekday dayshift begin to arrive. Coffee in hand, they are ready and prepared for the routine daily briefing. Traditionally, a patrol sergeant would sit at the front of the room reading from several clipboards recapping recent police activity and preparing for the day ahead. A time-consuming and often inefficient process, these bulletins typically included crime and information notices, administrative memorandums, and a 24-hour log. This process proves to be outdated, ineffective and in much need of improvement. In the past, it was challenging for weekend and weekday patrol teams to effectively communicate information between their shifts and at times this challenge resulted in pertinent officer safety information being lost or not returned to the clipboards. In an effort to combat these inefficiencies, MVPD worked with a vendor to create the Department Operations Center (DOC), a groundbreaking cloud-based medium to disseminate, distribute, and share pertinent information amongst all of its patrol teams, detectives, and administrative staff. MVPD worked closely with the vendor to create an innovative system that streamlined the flow of information throughout the department. Briefing clipboards of the past were soon replaced with a modern and efficient 16 California Police Chief | www.californiapolicechiefs.org desktop computer and two television monitors. Now, MVPD utilizes an interactive website to brief officers, document warrant service, list traffic complaints, provide officer safety training topics, and monitor trending activity on its social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter. Furthermore, the system is simple to use, eco-friendly, and designed to encourage communication and the flow of information between officers, records staff, detectives, and command staff. Officers have secure access from a host of electronic devices including the mobile digital computers located in their patrol cars, laptops, tablets, and smart phones, thereby allowing for the dissemination of real-time data. According to Mountain View Police Chief Scott S.G. Vermeer, “The DOC puts the key local information at the fingertips of our officers in a modern almost Facebook- like format which allows us to collaborate and share information in a way we never have in the past with flyers, clipboards and traditional meetings. This product built through the vision and imagination of our personnel has produced results that have exceeded all my expectations.” MVPD’s DOC allows for officers to submit and share relevant information, upload photos, and update a particular incident. Additional officers can easily add comments or photos to inci-