In the line of duty, critical incidents can evolve quickly and overwhelm first responders that lack key information or are unable to effectively communicate their situation in real time.

To address this concern, officers need access to systems capable of relaying relevant details in all different form factors. Sometimes a voice or text message sent to a single person is enough, while other times a photo, map or live video pushed to a group of team members will be more helpful to command.

More importantly, police agencies need to have the right infrastructure to work with multiple devices, departments and messaging applications. BlueLine Grid, based in Bethesda, Maryland, uses smartphones to provide a powerful platform capable of supporting officers in rapidly changing environments, ensuring the right personnel gets the right information at the right time.

BlueLine Grid launched a mobile application in 2013 originally intended as an enterprise platform for active duty law enforcement officers. Over time, the company has expanded capabilities to combine identity management, officer location tracking and application consolidation, as a way to improve decision-making and reduce response times.

Advancing Communication Tools

With its CommandGrid interface, BlueLine Grid supports instant SMS, image and video messaging. Information within texts, maps, photos or videos can easily be pushed to a group based on name, assignment or real-time location.

To keep officers safe, location tracking of each team member can be augmented with overlays of customer-defined data. Additionally, notifications can be sent when a user reaches a specific location allowing a supervisor to have awareness of the arrival of each team member on a call out.

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When working with large groups, mass notification via text , text-to-voice or email can be sent to pre-defined lists of recipients or geo-fenced locations. The application supports push-to-talk and instant, one-click conference calling via a conference bridge for mobile or landline phones. All services are available as REST APIs and/or Websocket subscriptions, allowing for complete flexibility when adding new information sources and sensors.

BlueLine Grid also uses a technology named Promontory, which provides powerful, first-of-its-kind interoperability for more advanced applications. For customers of applications like Skype, Cisco Spark and Slack, there are additional communication methods beyond SMS, email and mass conference calling. Promontory brings all of these connections together, breaking down traditional silos separating government agencies and corporate partners.

Seeing Applications in the Field

Interoperability has long been a challenge, especially in evolving events and when sharing critical information like maps, photos and video. BlueLine Grid provides a powerful collaborative platform that can be easily configured to adjust to specific needs, no matter the agency size. Some use cases include:

  • Amtrak Police respond to incidents along 18,000 miles of rail and at Amtrak facilities across the country, requiring routine interaction with multiple jurisdictions. BlueLine Grid facilitates the collaboration between state and local law enforcement, especially during special events or major incidents.
  • Boston’s Regional Intelligence Center (fusion center) uses BlueLine Grid’s Shield program to maintain effective communication with its regional partners, allowing for secure and timely distribution of daily briefings. More than 40 fusion centers across the country are using BlueLine Grid.

Pricing is tiered, based on the number of users, thus allowing for scalability and expansion as needed. BlueLine Grid works with agencies to effectively integrate the application with existing operational requirements. Samsung Galaxy devices, including Galaxy S8 and Note8, as well as wearables, are ideal for receiving notifications in a real-time, lightweight manner while out in the field.

At its core, BlueLine Grid helps foster inter-agency collaboration and provides officers with a wealth of communication capabilities. By implementing BlueLine Grid with Samsung devices, police forces can equip themselves for next-generation intelligence and improve situational awareness.

Learn more about public safety technology that is improving officer safety and access to information.

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Dale Stockton

Dale Stockton is a 32-year-veteran of law enforcement, having worked in all areas of police operations and retiring as a police captain from Carlsbad, California. He taught criminal justice classes for more than 20 years and is the former Editor-in-Chief of Law Officer Magazine and Stockton is the founder of Below 100, an award-winning officer-safety initiative designed to reduce police line-of-duty deaths and has been involved in the presentation of the program across North America. Stockton is an accomplished technology practitioner and has managed major technology projects for public safety including personnel-locate devices and license plate recognition systems.

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