Fast, accurate communications are critical to ensuring situational awareness for police officers out on patrol. In the vehicle, officers are able to access computer-aided dispatch (CAD), area maps and other digital resources, but when on foot they must fall back to legacy two-way radios.

While adoption of smartphones and mobile CAD applications is increasing, wrist-worn wearables offer an even more convenient form-factor for rapid alerts and notifications.

While at IACP, I talked to Duane Kietzman, mobility product owner at Tyler Technologies, about how his company is developing CAD solutions for Samsung smartwatches that will enable police to access critical alerts on their wrists. Tyler has had a mobile CAD solution for some time, and wanted to create a smartwatch app that would supplement this and take full advantage of the wearable form-factor.

“When an officer wears a smartwatch, they are able to get information immediately,” Kietzman said. “So, if any alerts come in, they can click, glance and see that information without having to take their eyes off the suspect.”

Tyler has partnered closely with Samsung, and Kietzman said its Tizen-based smartwatches offered a strong platform for innovation. In addition to delivering secure data, Samsung smartwatches provide a robust and durable solution that officers can carry with them into the field, he explained.

Built-in sensors on wearables also create unique opportunities to enhance officer safety. “If a traffic stop turns into a full chase,” said Kietzman, “the watch will actually be able to relay that information back in real-time, so [officers] can be tracked as they are pursuing that suspect.”

Leveraging wearables, command and dispatch centers can gain access to vital data, such as whether an officer’s heartrate becomes elevated, allowing them to respond in a timely — and potentially lifesaving — manner.

Learn how to plan and implement a mobile initiative at your agency with this practical roadmap.