York County Quick Response Team improves operational effectiveness with DragonForce
DragonForce significantly enhances the communcation of mission-critical information
The following Case Study is sponsored by Drakontas
By PoliceOne Staff
Formed in November of 2002, the all-volunteer York County Quick Response Team (QRT) is tasked with responding to high-risk or violent situations that require expertise outside the scope of normal police work. The team serves over 415,000 residents in 72 municipalities across York County, Pennsylvania. It is made up of nearly 50 officers from 11 police departments as well as the York County Sheriff’s Department, including tactical officers, negotiators, medical and tech personnel. The team typically deals with an average of 23 calls per year.
In the type of life-or-death situations that the Quick Response Team faces, every second counts. However, organizing the team and ensuring that every officer has the most up-to-date information used to be difficult because the team was limited by the means of disseminating that information: some information was transmitted verbally over the radio, but other information, such as updated pictures of suspects or diagrams of buildings, required physical copies to be made and hand-distributed to the critical members of the team who were already deployed and in position.
For example, in a situation where the QRT needed to enter a house, they would look to a witness, such as a neighbor to sketch the layout of the house. This drawing would need to be verified, then copies would have to be made, and then those copies would have to be taken to members of the team, who were already in positions surrounding the house. It was especially challenging to provide this information to snipers because their positions were typically both hidden and some distance away from the target. This entire process, from obtaining the intelligence to getting it in the hands of the necessary personnel, could take 20-30 minutes or more depending on the situation.
In the volatile and unpredictable calls the QRT responds to, the situation could change dramatically in the interval between when a given piece of information was initially gathered and when that information reached the hands the people in the field. That disconnect could be potentially dangerous for team members, hostages and suspects.
Drakontas worked with the York County QRT to integrate DragonForce into their operations. DragonForce went operational in November of 2010. The increase in the speed of communication was significant.
With DragonForce, the team creates mission folders containing pertinent information that is gathered and uploaded while the rest of the team is en route to a location. Once the team arrives, they already have the critical information they needed to deploy, including maps of the area, pictures of any suspects, and diagrams of the buildings.
Once the operation begins, the team is able to upload information, pictures, and diagrams on the fly from the command center and have them instantly available to all members in the field. Decisions are now made and acted upon much faster than when using traditional means.
One additional benefit of using DragonForce is an increase in the efficiency of after-action reporting. For legal reasons, these reports must be accurate and detailed, which can be time consuming to write. With DragonForce, at the click of a button, all the information on a given call, including scribe notes, images, etc., from all team members are collated into a single PDF.
After deploying DragonForce, the York County QRT is now able to dramatically reduce the time required to disseminate intel to the team in the field. The time between initially gathering a piece of intel and distributing it went from 20-30 minutes, down to 3-5 minutes because it no longer had to be physically ferried between elements of the team. Being able to respond to changes in the situation more quickly gives officers a significant advantage.
Another benefit is being able to increase the accuracy of the information that those deployed officers have at their disposal. Providing every member of the team with the most up-to-date information means that every team member can make the best possible decision for their circumstance.
“In almost 20 years, next to our mobile command vehicle, it’s the best piece of equipment we’ve bought for our team.”
–Sgt. Craig Losty, York County QRT Team Commander