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Enhancing Public Safety by Empowering First Responders on the Go

By Kalyn Sims, Chief Technology Officer, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure on November 10, 2017

Filed under Microsoft CityNext

An important part to making cities safer is improving the operations of individual emergency services, while modernizing the public service experience for citizens. One way agencies achieve this is by integrating mobile working solutions with mission-critical technologies such as computer-aided dispatch and records management systems, and then deploying these mobile apps to officers and field personnel via laptops, smartphones, and tablets.

Behind these systems and applications is connectivity and availability via the cloud. Microsoft’s patrol car demonstrates how cloud-based technologies can be integrated into patrol vehicles through Microsoft partners. These technologies include tablets, drones, surveillance devices, license plate readers, body cameras, and more. Officers can acquire and manage critical evidence using these digital evidence platforms, which are integrated with computer-aided dispatch and records management systems.

As part of Microsoft’s public safety partner ecosystem, Hexagon Safety & Infrastructure’s Intergraph Mobile Responder provides constant access to Hexagon’s Intergraph Computer-Aided Dispatch system as a native app on Windows mobile devices. It enables officers and field personnel to create events, view incident details, receive and acknowledge messages, update status, query databases, and more.

From countrywide law enforcement in New Zealand to regional police services in Ontario, Canada, agencies using mobile dispatching and communication technologies are reaping big benefits, improving service delivery and citizen safety.    

Empowering Officers and Responders in the Field

Just like the citizens and communities they serve, field officers and first responders are also consumers and users of mobile technologies. Most of them have the same mobile expectations. By giving officers and field personnel the ability to update incident details, access records, and feed relevant policing information back into a command center, they can execute workflows and tasks with greater speed and ease, making them more efficient, productive and effective on the job.

Enhancing Officer Efficiency and Productivity

With access to mobile dispatch and communication solutions, officers and first repsonders are no longer tethered to a fixed location. Being able to perform incident management workflows and tasks on the go reduces radio communication and data retrieval times between field personnel and dispatchers. The results are more efficient field operations and officers spending more time on the streets interacting with the community. In fact, New Zealand Police estimates that it saves half an hour a day per officer, equaling 520,000 hours annually in productivity savings.

Improving Situational Awareness and Officer Safety

Having real-time maps, event and unit information, and records in the palm of their hands greatly improves situational awareness for field personnel, and, thus, their safety. And with GPS-enabled devices, dispatchers and officers can track the location and movement of their colleagues. In case an officer needs assistance, dispatchers can quickly send more resources to an exact location. Constable Marc Taraso with Halton Regional Police Services in Ontario, Canada, describes these capabilities best, “I can update the dispatcher with my location just by typing it in or use the GPS feature and the dispatcher knows where I am all the time. This gives me a bigger sense of safety.”    

Increasing Agency Visibility and Legitimacy

Although crime rates are near historic lows, many law enforcement agencies suffer from waning public opinion and confidence. This sentiment undermines an agency’s and officer’s ability to do their jobs, putting the community at greater risk. Mobile solutions increase law enforcement’s and emergency service’s visibility and integration into their community, which improves the public’s perception of services and reinforces the agency’s legitimacy.

No single device, application, or solution can make a city smarter or safer. It takes overcoming  information, process and technology siloes; it takes partners like Hexagon and Microsoft working together to create modern ICT architectures and solutions that are integrated, flexible, and lower an agencies total cost of ownership – all while increasing capabilities and making cities safer.

If you want to see how Hexagon and Microsoft have partnered to improve the situational awareness, efficiency, and effectiveness of officers and field personnel, check out Hexagon’s Intergraph Mobile Responder solution in Microsoft’s patrol car at the Smart City Expo World Congress on November 14-16 in Barcelona.

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