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February 18, 2010
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Speaking the same language: CODY System's C.O.B.R.A. Data Sharing Network

Innovative applications seek to integrate, translate record systems in real-time

By Scott M. Bruner
PoliceOne Products Editor

The number of products promising to delivering true communications interoperability are quickly expanding as departments rush to find hard and software solutions to provide critical information to officers on the street. Not all can deliver effective solutions, but CODY System's C.O.B.R.A. is a compelling entry into the field.

CODY Systems' C.O.B.R.A. is a suite of applications designed to not only provide a system to translate and link information from different agencies and jurisdictions, but also to provide critical information to the field in real-time.

How it works
The way C.O.B.R.A. works is fairly simple on paper: it translates RMS records into a universal language that is uploaded into unique data "silos" for each jurisdiction. An agency has to have the C.O.B.R.A. system installed to upload data, but once installed, any agency can access it. Information can be accessed on a command post desktop or in the field, using C.O.B.R.A.'s web clients. Each agency has complete security control over its silo, determining what information will be loaded to it and who has access.

"First preventers need an up-to-the-second picture of situations, from seemingly routine field stops to tactical ops. We don’t care what 'language' a data source speaks. What matters is that we have the right info at the right place at the right time, updated to stay completely in time-synch with local systems," Lt. Jeff Merriman of the Jasper County, Missouri Sheriff’s Office said.

Another feature of C.O.B.R.A. is that it allows agencies to search data across networks, regardless of individual jurisdictions. In one particular instance, a Pennsylvania police officer pulled over a vehicle at a shopping complex large enough to be in two different jurisdictions. By using C.O.B.R.A., he was informed that the driver had been pulled over only 10 minutes ago by a different agency for a similar infraction. The information alerted the officer to be particularly vigilant, which led to the discovery of a weapons cache in the vehicle's trunk.

"At the core of C.O.B.R.A. is officer safety, and had this officer not had access to the most up-to-the-second information in the most timely fashion, the consequences could have been devastating," David Heffner, vice president of CODY Systems said. "C.O.B.R.A.'s primary mission, for the last 10 years, is to protect officers in the field by providing them with up-to-the-second, actionable information, across jurisdictions and systems, on the people, places, and vehicles they come in contact with on a daily basis."

C.O.B.R.A. is able able to receive, upload, and provide all captured data to officers in the field in real-time with C.O.B.R.A. In this case, real-time is considered to be six seconds. Whether it's updating information on a hazardous location, a license plate, or a suspect's phone records, the information should be online and available to any system within six seconds.

"The key to C.O.B.R.A. is that the information a police officer has is actionable," Heffner said. "The problem with many data sharing systems is they consider updating data hourly to be fine – if an officer on the street has information that's a day old, he can't act on it. With C.O.B.R.A., he can be sure it’s updated to the second."

First introduced in 1998, C.O.B.R.A. is now being used by over 300 jurisdictions across the country.

A wholly owned and privately held company, CODY Systems specializes in integrated data management solutions and interoperable cross-platform information-sharing for First Preventers. Visit them on the web at www.codysystems.com.

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