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How using data
can help improve
police response time

Author: Mark Stone

According to American Police Beat, the average police response time in the U.S. is approximately 10 minutes. "The stakes are high" is an understatement when every second counts. Police response time can be limited by the lack or type of information available. For instance, knowing whether a suspect is holding a gun or an umbrella is crucial not only for our responding officers, but also for protecting our communities. The clock matters. The quicker the overall response time combined with the best situational awareness data available, the better a situation can be managed. 

What factors affect police response times?

When responding to calls, an officer's knowledge typically consists of the information received from dispatch centers and the data available upon arrival to a scene. Yet, responding officers must assess situations and make decisions as quickly as possible. Dispatch centers are also often constrained by the information they ascertain from callers who may be distressed, which also impacts average police response time in the U.S.

Integrating high-speed communications technology with call centers and law enforcement agencies allows for better and more efficient community support.

New technology and enhanced training of call center staff can assist law enforcement organizations in helping to improve overall response times. Departments can leverage integrated technology to carry out a call, obtain real-time video information and relay that information to the responding officers more efficiently.

Using this technology, a real-time crime center comes to life. Departments can leverage integrated data from various sources such as video feeds, location history, social media, demographics, allowing for in-depth analysis of an evolving situation and timely problem-solving by officers in the field and enhanced coordination among local law enforcement agencies. However, it is critical that call center staff managing the distribution of resources are adequately trained to access the data available and ensure that it gets to the front-line officers who need it.

The role real-time data can play

With new technology and the increased data available on networks, trained dispatchers can quickly gather and distribute significant amounts of information. Specific data, such as intelligent video information, can also help assist in managing and directing law enforcement officers in how they should proceed when handling volatile situations.

For example, intelligent video cameras connected to a secure and reliable network provide near-real-time "eyes" on a situation for responding police officers. No longer are cameras static, which allows video footage to be collected from different angles such as over fences and above building sight lines.

Intelligent video systems can also help enhance information gathering by providing near-real-time emergency management information for officers to tap into, including location tracking. Knowing where all officers are in the field can help call teams and responding officers better assist one another. Additionally, moving to a modernized, cloud-based video surveillance solution may help reduce operating expenses in addition to reducing response times. Instead of downloading video after an incident, a cloud-based solution can allow the processing of analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and machine learning (ML) applications in near real time.

Training all necessary departments on how these systems can work together to improve average police response time in the U.S.—and around the world—is a critical part of integrating this new technology.

What technologies enable police to do more?

With 5G connectivity, police departments could access data in real-time, improve situational awareness and shorten response times.

For first responders, 5G’s potential for fast speeds, low latency and massive capacity may be able to provide fast access to the critical information they need.

For example, 5G connectivity could allow real-time data to be gathered from numerous sources, such as intelligent video technology systems that integrate with other systems in the community. By combining technology with existing community systems, further integration of resources for police departments may be achievable.

When video and audio information is stored in a cloud-based system, anyone looking for the information—such as the staff trained in a high-tech calling center—could quickly access and distribute the data, which can potentially lead to enhanced response times that may reduce the number of serious crimes that occur in a community.

Reliable, high-speed networks are key to improving these technology-based responses for our communities. These networks and the integrated data they provide also give those in charge of managing law enforcement agencies valuable feedback about officer responses to improve police officer training further.

How improved response time can build community trust

Efficient police response times are critical to maintaining peace in a community. When response times are managed effectively, the overall impact of crime or other incidents on the community may be reduced. Improving officer response times and equipping officers with more data allows for earlier intervention and more informed situation management.

For example, officers who see a crime in progress over real-time video may be able to respond before the crime escalates. When officers are equipped with richer details regarding the incident, like suspect descriptions, they are less likely to perceive unassociated individuals as being involved. These details could help change the dynamic of an investigation and help to provide potential witnesses who may be able to assist the officers. Video may also help by providing more specificity than eyewitness identification, which law enforcement professionals know is less reliable.

Using near-real-time data, police departments across the country can help improve average police response time in the U.S. When leveraged correctly and with the right technology partner, enhanced and integrated systems within a community can not only help improve response times but also help foster higher levels of trust.

Find out how Verizon helped the Hualapai Police improve officer safety and accountability with Verizon Connect.

How Using Data Can Improve Police Response Time | Verizon Business

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