August 20, 2014
Community Awareness and Safety… CSI Has an App for That!

CSI is committed to fostering communication between the public and public safety organizations as a way to reduce crime and keep citizens safe. So when the US Department of Homeland Security launched the national “See Something, Say Something” campaign in 2010 to raise public awareness of indicators of terrorism and to emphasize the importance of reporting suspicious activity to the proper local law enforcement authorities, CSI turned to its engineering staff to design a mechanism to support this effort.
Now, CSI is proud to offer one of our latest developments, the InfoShare™ Tips and Leads app, a smart device application for citizens to send messages to police and for police and emergency management organizations to widely distribute alerts to the public.
With the push of a button on their mobile or “smart” device, any citizen can alert authorities to emergencies, from an active shooter to that abandoned knapsack at the train station, or quickly place a call for help if they are stuck in a flooded automobile. A citizen call for help is generated merely by pressing a tab on the phone application, sending the message right to the dispatcher’s console, where the dispatcher can immediately process the information and, if necessary, generate a Call For Service (CFS) and dispatch emergency units through their Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD).
Bidirectional alerts, tip and information sharing provide the ability for both police and the public to transmit messages and images to each other. Authorities can provide information and instructions and citizens can report status or seek assistance, thus raising awareness of where trouble lies and how to deal with it. Photos of suspicious persons or vehicles can be transmitted to the police from citizens and vice-versa. In the case of a situation like a robbery or school shooting, InfoShare Tips and Leads can place a silent alert to authorities, without tipping off a perpetrator that a call to police has been placed. GPS technology is utilized to send responders to the scene, without the sender saying a word.
In an emergency situation such as Super Storm Sandy, a chemical spill from a truck on the turnpike or a terrorist attack at an airport, authorities can send out alerts to the general public with advice and warnings in one swift transmission. In a campus situation, alerts from campus security can warn students about pandemics, food poisoning outbreaks, class cancellations or a predator on campus.
Public safety and organizations such as campus security agencies can even pre-define lists to target messages to specific audiences. For instance, lists can be established prior to an emergency occurring so that a targeted communication can be directed to teachers or police officers or any other specific group. Also, to facilitate composing messages quickly during an emergency, agencies can pre-define message content into drop-down lists for easy selection. “These options make it easy for an agency to quickly get the word out in an emergency situation and mobilize the proper resources to respond,” explains Mike Trahey, Vice President for CSI’s Emergency Management Division.
The advantage of this to communities and institutions such as schools, hospitals or prisons, is that everyone can stay informed of emergencies and dangerous situations. Communication between authorities and the community is readily available using a device people carry everyday… their smartphone.