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New technology promises to help first responders [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Feb 9, 2017 2:15:44 PM

When emergency personnel respond to a call, they need to grasp the situation at once to formulate a response. New software is helping them get the data they need in a hurry.

Departments around the country have taken on pre-plan programs that use touchscreen interfaces to give police, fire and EMS personnel information such as floor plans and notices about residents who may require special attention during a rescue. This data takes some of the guesswork out of emergency response, and shaves precious minutes off of response time.

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Topics: EMS, Police, Firefighters

Police vehicle training reaches new levels of realism [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Feb 6, 2017 2:52:47 PM

When it comes to skills such as making high-risk traffic stops or pursuing a suspect's vehicle in hazardous driving conditions, police officers need training to feel as close to the real thing as possible.

Training sessions that accurately reflect extreme conditions can help officers react effectively. To this end, agencies have a variety of options at their disposal, including driving practice in cars that simulate dangerous weather, as well as scenarios that combine driving and shoot-out elements.

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Topics: Law Enforcement, Police, Training

The complex process of finding ideal police officer candidates

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Feb 2, 2017 3:33:13 PM


A cadet system could get young people ready to join the force.

 

Hiring for a police department is unlike the process in any other field. The ideal officer will combine peak physical and mental toughness with great communication skills, a willingness to put oneself in danger and an ability to deescalate intense situations. The complex nature of the work means that extra effort given to recruiting, nurturing and retaining talent is well worth it. The pool of applicants with the skills to become great officers is limited, and departments have to hold onto their best people tenaciously.

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Topics: Law Enforcement, Police

Some police departments may be underestimating hiring needs

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jan 30, 2017 1:44:38 PM


Departments are using different metrics to determine how many officers they should employ.

 

When it comes to putting together a police force, leaders have to balance a number of factors, each more challenging than the last. It's vital to have enough manpower to keep the community safe while giving each officer a reasonable workload, and extremely high standards are required when it comes to vetting candidates and training them to perform their many duties.

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Topics: Law Enforcement, Police, Staffing

San Jose Faces Police Staffing Emergency [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Sep 22, 2016 8:13:42 PM

The San Jose City Council has voted to declare a state of emergency over a serious police staffing shortage.

The city's police department has struggled with reassigning officers from investigations to patrol duty. As a result, calls have gone unanswered and many residents have complained of excessive delays.

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Topics: Police, Staffing

Police Officers Need More Medical Training

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Aug 31, 2016 4:41:42 PM


Police need to know how to treat crime victims on the scene.

 

Shortly after the July police shooting that occurred in Dallas, in which five officers were killed and nine others were injured, Dallas Police Chief David Brown publicly lamented that the public was "asking cops to do too much in this country."

"Every societal failure, we put it off on the cops to solve," he said during a press conference after the event, according to the Washington Post. "Not enough mental health funding, let the cops handle it. … Here in Dallas we got a loose dog problem; let's have the cops chase loose dogs. Schools fail, let's give it to the cops. … That's too much to ask. Policing was never meant to solve all those problems."

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Topics: Law Enforcement, Police, Training

Seattle Overtime Audit Shows Lack of Spending Control

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jul 21, 2016 5:58:50 PM


A recent audit showed how the Seattle Police Department is struggling to keep control of overtime spending.

 

There are a number of reasons why a municipal department may experience escalating overtime costs. 

Sometimes, it's because the department is facing an unexpected spike of work and needs all hands on deck. Other times, it may be the result of a shortage of full-time employees. 

But there can be cases in which excessive department overtime is simply the result of ineffective scheduling processes. A recent audit of the Seattle Police Department suggests that it is one of those times. If it does not address this problem, the city could find it difficult to continue to provide residents with the levels of public safety services that they have come to expect.

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Topics: Scheduling, Overtime, Police

Report: DFW Airport Lacks Adequate Police Staffing Levels [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jul 7, 2016 3:36:48 PM

As the threat of global terrorism grows, security experts believe that a strong police presence is necessary to deter attacks, especially in areas where large numbers of people gather. But some potential targets may not be getting the protection they need.

For instance, staffing levels at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport are insufficient, according to an internal police report. The airport, which is among the world's largest and serves more than 60 million passengers each year, has fewer officers patrolling its terminals than other major U.S. airports.

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Topics: Police, Staffing

Officers Must Be Prepared to Deal With the Mentally Ill

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jun 7, 2016 3:11:19 PM


Police need more training to deal with calls involving mentally ill individuals.

 

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, less than 5 percent of Americans experience a serious mental condition in a given year. However, these individuals make up a disproportionate share of those who are arrested and imprisoned annually. As many as 20 percent of jail inmates and 15 percent of those housed in state prisons are mentally ill, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center. And though it can be difficult to collect reliable statistics on police encounters, The Christian Science Monitor cited one estimate taken in New York City in 2002, which found that the NYPD received about 150,000 calls involving "emotionally disturbed persons" each year.

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Topics: Scheduling, Law Enforcement, Police, Training

Should Police Staffing Be Based on Population, or Workload? [Video]

Posted by Jackie Belasky

Jun 2, 2016 10:03:18 AM

How should cities determine minimum police staffing levels? In San Francisco, some city supervisors think it should be based on population. Others want to see it based on the police department's workload demand.

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Topics: Law Enforcement, Police, Staffing

About Orion Communications

As workforce management and data interface experts, Orion Communications is a leading provider of public safety workforce management software.  Orion’s AgencyWeb® software helps agencies simplify complex workforce management processes and reduce labor cost. Orion has been serving the public safety industry since 1998 and is a certified women-owned business headquartered in Dallas, Texas.

For more information, please contact Jackie Belasky at 214-361-1203, #2413 or jbelasky@orioncom.com.