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How the Indianola Police Department relies on Verizon Frontline to protect its residents and visitors—while keeping its officers safe

Advanced communication isn’t just for big-city police departments.

  • Indianola, Iowa—just south of Des Moines, the state capital—is a quiet, beautiful city of 15,000 that’s known for the National Balloon Classic, a nine-day hot air balloon festival held every summer. The Indianola Police Department helps keep this small city safe for residents and visitors, thanks to its commitment to adopting advanced technology, including the latest mobile devices and Verizon Frontline, the advanced network for first responders on the front lines.

    Part of the attraction of life in a peaceful city like Indianola is its low crime rate. But keeping Indianola safe doesn’t happen by accident. It takes the ongoing work of the Indianola Police Department and its vigilant officers, whose mission is “to work in partnership with our community to protect life and property, and enhance the quality of life in our city through excellence in policing.” Indianola recently integrated cell phones with reliable Verizon connectivity as a key communication channel for its officers, supplementing its traditional police radios. It’s just one instance of how this forward-looking police department is adopting new technology to aid and enhance its policing.1

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City of Indianola, IA

  • Indianola, Iowa is a city of approximately 15,000, just south of downtown Des Moines, Iowa, the state capital.

  • Cell phones, Verizon Frontline, and body-cam software empower Indianola Police Department officers with a reliable multi-purpose device.

  • The department relies on 24 smartphones with built-in defense-grade mobile security, Verizon LTE connectivity, Visual Labs Smartphone Body Camera Solution and a mobile device management application.

  • Advanced communication helps the Indianola Police Department protect the city and its residents, as well as its officers.

  • Avoiding the use of personal cell phones

  • The traditional radios used by police forces met their match when cell phones became ubiquitous. Cell phones were lighter, smaller and easier to use than their bulky counterparts. Like many police departments, Indianola soon found that its officers were using their personal cell phones as part of their daily work. Despite the convenience, this bring-your-own-phone-to-work approach wasn’t appropriate in a public safety context.

    “There were lots of reasons why our officers shouldn’t be using personal cell phones at work,” recalls Pat Allsup, departmental administrator, who has seen technology evolve over her 21-year history with the Indianola Police Department.

    In short, cell phones used by police officers can be subject to legal requests, making their security and integrity extremely important.

  • Beginning quotation mark  It’s not just that personal cell phones aren’t secure. They’re also open for discovery at any point.”

    Pat Allsup, Departmental Administrator, Indianola Police Department

  • Combining two capabilities in one device

  • In 2022, the Indianola Police Department began a search for two critical elements to aid their policing. “We wanted to make sure that our officers had a cell phone that could serve as a powerful, secure communication tool,” says Allsup. “But we also wanted to find a way to provide the protection that comes with body cams.”

    While this search was originally two-fold, it soon focused on a comprehensive solution instead of a standalone body cam. “We discovered that there was software that could be added to a cell phone that enables it to serve as a body cam, too,” says Allsup. “That pretty much solved our issue. The vests that our officers wear include a lot of different devices that they have to manage, including their taser, radio, gun and more. Having one less device is important, since they’re already loaded down.”

  • Two police officers using a smartphone while standing outside of police precinct
    • A solution from a trusted partner

    • The department’s search for a solution was streamlined by its longstanding relationship with Verizon Frontline, which had provided reliable connectivity for many years. “We’ve always used Verizon cellular services,” says Allsup. “It just continues to work very well for us when keeping our cars and officers connected—from 3G to 4G to 5G.”

      Verizon Frontline worked closely with the Indianola Police Department to create a complete, secure, reliable solution for its officers. At its core, Verizon Wireless Priority Service helps to provide reliable connectivity for those who are eligible. For devices, Indianola selected two dozen state-of-the-art smartphones equipped with body cam functionality provided by Visual Labs, a Versaterm company; this solution leverages the smartphone’s connectivity and processing capabilities. And contract pricing via Verizon Frontline reduced the overall cost.

      “I just told my Verizon representative what we needed and he took it from there,” Allsup recalls.

    • Centralizing control, simplifying management

    • With the Verizon Frontline solution, the department also utilizes advanced mobile device management that lets it manage and control centrally, a critical capability for public safety organizations.

      Centralized device management lets Allsup handle the administrative details, enabling officers to stay focused on their work, not their phones. “Managing the phones is incredibly easy,” says Allsup. “I can just go online and manage the phones, and it’s all invisible to our officers. They don’t have to worry about anything—just click for updates every once in a while.”

  • Body camera worn by a police officer in uniform
    • Advanced security keeps devices safe, always

    • “Security and the ability to lock down phones is very important to us,” says Indianola Chief of Police, Brian Sher. “All of our phones are open to Freedom of Information (FOIA) requests, so it’s important that only work-related apps, photos, video and calls are on the phones.” The department has set the phones so that officers can’t add new applications, ensuring that they remain “work-only” devices. And with mobile device management, Allsup can lock down a phone if it’s lost or stolen.

    • Protecting officers and keeping the city safe

    • The result? The department and its officers have reliable, secure devices that serve two key purposes— fast communication and body-cam capability. “Our officers love the phones,” says Chief Sher. “They can rely on one piece of equipment instead of two.” The officers represent a wide range of ages and technical abilities, according to Allsup, all of whom are comfortable with the new devices. “Even the officer who’s usually kicking and screaming when we make changes has been very receptive to the new phone and was able to learn how to use it really quickly.”

    • Ongoing Verizon Frontline support

    • The Indianola Police Department has relied on Verizon Frontline as its connectivity partner for many years, for in-car and headquarters communication and now mobile connectivity. Why Verizon Frontline? “I think the big reason for me is the support that I get from Verizon,” says Allsup. “If I have questions or issues, Verizon always finds the answer or solution that I need, quickly. And contract pricing saves money for the department— and our taxpayers. In the end, we want the best tools for our officers—for their safety, for the department— and to protect our city and residents.”

      1 https://www.indianolaiowa.gov/149/Police-Department Network details & coverage maps at vzw.com.

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