PD social networking without the headaches of Facebook
The mission of Interactive Defense System is to make communities safer by bridging the gap between departments and civilians
The benefits of social media in law enforcement are undeniable, but those benefits are often hindered by the technology’s inherent lack of security, privacy or reliable moderation.
Take Facebook for example: As useful as it is in reaching out to the community, it does not maximize the Web’s potential on a law enforcement level.
That’s because Facebook, quite honestly, has bigger fish to fry. Although it works for cops, it wasn’t specifically designed for them.
That’s where Interactive Defense System comes in.
IDS is a social network designed specifically for law enforcement, meaning it’s equipped with crime-solving tools as well as privacy and security measures you won’t find on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or YouTube. Its sole purpose is to make communities safer by bridging the gap between departments and civilians.
How it began
They launched their pilot system with the Dunwoody (Georgia) Police Department in Oct. 2010 and have directly used it to catch at least two criminals in the three months since. The city of Clarkson (Georgia) has since signed on with IDS and will soon become the second department to launch the system. Both departments are in DeKalb County, a suburb of Atlanta, where F3 is based. With that said, the system is not geographically bound.
“From an operational perspective, there’s no reason we have to be in Georgia,” said F3 COO Paul Campbell. “We’re currently in the Atlanta area because the chiefs feel comfortable adopting the product.”
Once the system is installed at the specific police department, it is run entirely by the PD from that point forward.
“We find out what they want and we tailor it from there,” says Campbell.
How it works
The police side, which is called HEROSPACE, features an admin interface that allows cops to communicate and broadcast information to the community, as well as to other officers within the department.
• Virtual roll call – This gives officers access to important roll-call information at all times, rather than only at the start of a shift.
Members of the community see a different interface than the officers do. On the civilian side, people can:
• Report crimes and submit tips to police
The final bullet point is something a PD could never accomplish on Facebook, where the inability to validate information and the sheer size of the network make it difficult to place stock in a user comment or message. The connection between citizen and cop is much tighter on IDS, where residents have the option to provide home security codes and other private information that might aide cops in an investigation.
In no way is IDS trying to compete against non-public-safety networks. In fact, they embrace them as supplemental tools.
“We’ll probably integrate Facebook and Twitter just to enhance,” says Campbell, emphasizing the system’s public-safety mission. “This is a very controlled environment.”
Less secure networking sites, on the other hand, are places were many kinds of problems can flourish.
"If you don’t pay attention to what’s on the internet, you can get into trouble," said Ed Appel at the SMILE Conference in Santa Monica.
What IDS isn’t
What IDS is
It virtually bridges the gap between cops and citizens.
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