Communication app helps officers in the field

Posted on Aug 12, 2014

A new application for police officers could help agents communicate between one another in the event of a major crisis. According to Reuters, the BlueLine Grid app was created to let officers use similar Skype-like technology to make quick conference calls and send and retrieve information between agents through a wireless network.

The system is known as an over-the-top (OTT) voice and messaging system, which can use both voice and text technology simultaneously. Several law enforcement agents believe officer communication could benefit from such advances in technology.

Updating older communication technology

Several police departments currently use outdated ad hoc methods, which can only send information through two-way radio transmissions with cars that are in a 100- to 300-meter proximity, Police Chief Magazine reported.

"We have so much law enforcement in the U.S. - more than 700,000 agencies - and each of them has their own method of collecting and sharing information," said Jim Bueermann, the president of the non-profit Police Foundation, according to Reuters. "Finding a platform that is web-based works on mobile platforms and is easy to use is, I think, the holy grail of information sharing."

Faster communication abilities 

David Riker, CEO of BlueLine Grid, explained the system allows officers to know who is near them, which improves communication between forces especially when in an emergency situation, the source reported. Events such as Superstorm Sandy, 9/11 and the Boston Marathon bombings have several major cities looking for better communication technology that could aid officers and first responders during a crisis.

However, the BlueLine Grid app does have some early flaws. According to Reuters, since the system uses wireless internet, if a major crisis cut the power in the area, officers would not be able to use it.

Other technologies such as NC4 Street Smart can be used in emergency situations and access information on a crime map or police bulletin boards while in the field.

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