PublicEngines Logo

Find Us On

Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on LinkedIn Follow Us on Twitter Follow Us on YouTube Follow Us on our RSS Feed

Connect with Your Citizens Anywhere They Want - CityConnect: New Mobile App for Law Enforcement

Animated Bullying Poem

This video, created in partnership with spoken word poet Shane Koyczan, is a poignant example of what a child and adolescent feels when they are bullied in school. Shane himself was bullied as a young child, “My experiences with violence in schools still echo throughout my life, but standing to face the problem has helped me in immeasurable ways,” Koyczan writes on the “To This Day” website.

It all begs the question, if we start in our own homes with teaching our children the tenets of respect, love, and kindness, might we rid our schools of bullying in this present generation? And if we did that, might we in connection lower crime in our communities and make them a safer place to live? Watch the video and then tell us what you think – how do you help solve the bullying epidemic?

Tips to Boost and Maintain TipSoft Use within the Community

If You Build it They will Come…

TipSoft is a great app that enables citizens to help fight crime with their smartphones, but without adequate community adoption and use of TipSoft, law enforcement agencies may be missing out on the benefit of a mobile citizenry that can feed crime tips and photos from the streets. As useful as TipSoft can be in your community, TipSoft alone isn’t one of those ‘if you build it, they will come’ apps, nor should it be a ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ endeavor– getting the most out of TipSoft in your community requires a bit of promotion to get citizens on-board as well as PR efforts to keep users active. To get the most out of TipSoft, here are a few tips to boost and maintain TipSoft use within your community:


No, we don’t mean putting millions of dollars into a super-bowl commercial. But still you’ve got to let your community know about TipSoft and that using it can help solve and prevent crimes, or even provide life-saving information to the community. Like the City of Appleton WI, you can start by hosting a press release on the city/police department website to let everybody know what TipSoft is, how it can help, and where to get it (see picture below).

Additionally, reach out to local media during launch to ensure they help get the message out. While press releases can be helpful, they can also get lost in the clutter of your website. To get your citizens attention, consider putting a web banner on the home page.  For inspiration checkout the  banner hosted on Scranton PD’s homepage. Your agency can continue the campaign by blasting the message out on your city/department Facebook page and Twitter feed for maximum reach. 

Take Your Message to the Streets

While the agency website and social media channels are good places to start building TipSoft awareness among those citizens who are already engaged (online) with local law enforcement, arguably many of your citizens do not have frequent contact with your agency/department whether online or in person. For that reason, take your TipSoft message out into the community to generate awareness and adoption; the prime opportunity being community events like National Night Out, Take Back the Night and other community gatherings such as holiday parades, cookouts and festivals. At your police booth/tent, consider having flyers with a QR code for people with smartphones to scan and download the TipSoft app in a jiffy.

Let’em Know When TipSoft Tips and Alerts Pay Off 

While a promotion effort is important in spurring community adoption, maintaining community interest is crucial to keeping those crime tips coming. An easy way is to let the community in on the action: Did a recent anonymous tip help catch a predator? Did a TipSoft alert deliver information that saved a life? Share the good news on Facebook and Twitter! When community TipSoft participation pays off in either fighting crime or public safety let the community know that anonymous tips and community alerts are effective and appreciated by the police. Posting the good news will let the community see that their TipSoft participation is meaningful and will inspire continued use.

Hit a home run with TipSoft?

Let us know what other tips and insights can help fellow agencies successfully implement TipSoft in their communities. Use the comments section below to share your best practices.

Why Intelligence-Led Policing? The Answer Part 2

*This is part three of a multi-part series on Intelligence-Led Policing by Detective DJ Seals.

Compiling various information sources is key to making Intelligence-Led Policing work. Many times police departments are content with the information they currently have. Let’s face it, we tend to live in an informational world contained within the four walls of our departments, ignoring outside information sources. But for Intelligence-Led Policing to work, it is paramount to gather intelligence from three key sources.

1) Notebooks

Obviously the most immediate source of information will be your in-house records management system – which should be used in conjunction with those notebooks your officers keep with them on the road. Those little notebooks very rarely get included in your departments’ intelligence data, but are often the most accurate source of direct intelligence involving the daily workings of your community. Make sure your officers are transferring the detailed notes they’ve taken into every report they make. And I encourage you, if you are still a paper-heavy agency, move to electronic based methods for recording and sharing information whenever possible.

2) Other Local Agencies

It’s importnat to share information and crime data with neighboring police departments in order to pick up on crime trends and reduce the threat.

One great chasm that many departments still face is the divide between county Sheriff’s departments and municipal Police Departments; floating an ideal of “theres us and then theres them.” This must be broken down in order to compile the next most important data set — that of your neighboring agencies. The criminal element within your jurisdiction does not stop committing crimes because they come to your city/county limits. We all understand that our criminals are also our neighboring agencies criminals. Criminals are irrespective of jurisdictional lines and do not care what color uniform you wear. As a matter of fact, it is in their best interest to move their criminal escapades around. They know we do not share information as freely as we should. We must combat this by breaking down the informational barriers between departments. By sharing local intelligence, we can finally act as one law enforcement body and not individual agencies. One method for sharing information may include third-party systems that can import and codify data regardless of specific types of RMS or CAD systems that may be used by the individual departments. Once this happens, you can begin to discover crime trends that link criminal elements across geographic boundaries.

3) State and Federal Agencies

After you have a grasp and have taken full advantage of all of your local intelligence sources, it is time to…., yes I am going to say it……reach out to your state and federal sources. If we thought the perceived divide between local agencies was wide, then the perceived divide between local agencies and state and federal agencies must be the Grand Canyon. However, since 9/11, state and federal agencies have begun to understand the great impact local intelligence has on national security. Case in point; it was discovered, after the fact, that the terrorists involved in 9/11 drove through the state of Georgia. Not only did they drive through, but they were traffic-stopped a number of times. Even though some of the terrorists were already on a national watch list, they were never flagged because so many of our smaller local systems were not directly linked with the national system.

Reach out to your state and local agencies, join their intelligence sharing meetings and e-mail servers, and don’t just read what they send out – contribute!

I Have a Challenge for You

Would 9/11 have happened as it was planned had one of those traffic stops flagged the terrorists? Have we really moved on toward sharing intelligence? What steps are you taking to share your intelligence with local, state, and federal agencies? It is up to you to reach out to all possible intelligence sources, compile the information, make that information accessible to your stake holders, and put Intelligence-Led Policing into action!

In my next blog, I will explain what to do with this information after you have gathered it, and how to get it out to your officers and community. As always, feel free to ask questions as we move along on our Intelligence-Leg Policing journey.

Pensacola PD Reaches Out to Local Citizens

Photo by divemasterking2000 via Flickr

Just came across this great news story about CrimeReports from Fox 10 in Pensacola, Florida. Near the end a man who runs a community center comments that a map like our could harm people who live in high-crime areas. What are your thoughts?

Continue reading

Feed a Family, Feed a Community

Photo by Matt Hagen via Flickr

Remember Bozeman? The Montana city with so much social media controversy? First, the town was called out all over the Web for demanding not only access to its employees’ social pages, but also their account passwords. Then, a Bozeman police officer resigned after public outcry over his poorly worded Facebook status update.

Bozeman police are again in the news, but not for social media. This time, the highlight is for an officer who went beyond his sworn duties to help a fellow human being—after he’d arrested him.

Continue reading