Law Enforcement Technology

JUN 2019

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By Jon Forknell Jon Forknell is the Vice President and General Manager of Atlas Business Solutions, Inc., a sof tware marketing company specializing in employee scheduling sof tware, including ScheduleAny where, and other business sof tware solutions. Jon has been recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as an SBA Young Entrepreneur of the Year. 34 TA L K IN G P O IN T S ADVANCEMENTS IN TECH N atural disasters can happen with little or no warning. From hurricanes and flooding to winter storms and wildfires, there is no time of year and no law enforcement organiza- tion immune to the possibility of facing a devastating catastrophe. Most agencies have policies and procedures in place for the mitigation of, preparedness for and response to emergency events. But how can an operation rapidly fulfill excessive manpower requirements while simultaneously manag- ing the crisis at hand? One of the first steps agencies must take during a natural disaster is alerting personnel of the need for additional staff. Some public safety facilities implement a manual phone tree, where one person calls a number of contacts to relay the information. They in turn will call those assigned to them and the cycle continues until everyone is informed. However, there are many variables which could make this ineffective. If the first caller is unable to reach one contact, for example, that person, along with each employee who follows that branch of the call tree, will remain unaware of the situation and the urgent request for reinforcement. If every person is assigned four contacts, one quarter of employees are left out of the loop right from the start. Ideally, there would be a backup plan, but any delay of information can compromise the agency's response capabilities. Many agencies have discovered that online scheduling software does much more than help manage employees' schedules, and can be an extremely effec- tive communication tool. The Rogers (Minn.) Police Department implemented ScheduleAnywhere as its online employee scheduling solution to reduce the time spent on scheduling each month. They quickly learned that the software also provided a way to effectively notify and communicate with officers and staff. "Prior to using an online schedul- ing system, staff members who were away from the office had no access to current schedules or updates," says Chief Jeffrey Beahen. "And managers had to be physically present in order to manage per- sonnel and shift changes, as well as variances in manpower requirements. Now, schedules can be viewed online, and we can track manpower allocations and shift coverages. Additionally, notifications, requests and approvals can be done in seconds." Ramping Up Manpower When Disaster Strikes Online scheduling software can help public safety facilities quickly and effectively meet the massive surge in demand for services during an emergency. Today's law enforcement agencies can benefit from software that works on multiple devices, from laptop to smartphone. Image cour tesy of ScheduleAny where, from Atlas Business Solutions, Inc.

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