LRAD and CONNECT: Secure, clear communication. Want to learn more? Register for the April 25 webinar.

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Civil Lawsuits: The Fallout When First Responders Use SMS for Work

Over 90% of all public safety employees admit to using SMS or consumer communication apps while working.  Far too many public safety employees admit to using social apps and never saving or storing messages that are work-related.  It is illegal in all states to conceal, destroy, or delete evidentiary conversations, and the consequences for officers range from termination and misdemeanor up to a felony.

Worst of all, many commit this crime unknowingly.  It is far too easy to slip from innocently discussing lunch plans to mentioning any work-related details while messaging a coworker.  In non-secure messaging apps, it is impossible to know where your text with sensitive details or intelligence can land or how far it can travel.  SMS compliance is critical for the safety of officers and the communities they serve, and that’s where Genasys Protect CONNECT can help.

Real-Life Horror

In 2016, the city of Chicago paid over $670,000 in FOIA and open records lawsuits.  Twenty-seven cases were filed against the city, with an overwhelming majority (19) involving the Chicago Police Department. The most expensive lawsuit came from a journalist who demanded the release of a video of a young man who was killed by a Chicago police officer. Chicago withheld the video, thus breaching open record laws and costing the force nearly $100,000.  The concealment or deletion of this video might seem like an obvious error; however, thousands of officers unknowingly put themselves in a similar situation every day when they fail to be texting compliant.

The Chicago Tribune had a separate lawsuit regarding a former mayor’s emails, again involving work-related business that was discussed and conducted on his personal devices. The price for breaching email and SMS compliance for first responders is far too steep considering how easy it is to use Genasys Protect CONNECT’s always secure and always compliant messaging software. Keep yourself and your employees covered and compliant.

The Chicago Tribune has repeatedly sued the Chicago Police Department over failing to provide private records, including videos of the death of a man while in police custody.  Family members pursued finding the details surrounding the man’s death, and the force paid nearly $20,000 in fees and costs after finally releasing videos and details surrounding the man’s death. The lack of transparency between the police and the public drives a devastating wedge between the two.  First responders must be a source of trust and safety for their community, and it starts with secure and compliant communication.

Devastating Effects

The open-record lawsuits faced by the city clearly overshadow the good work done by the police. The financial effects of communication compliance are tragic, to be sure, but perhaps the most devastating is the loss of trust between first responders and the people they aim to serve and protect.

SMS compliance for law enforcement, firefighters, and EMT personnel is critical not only to protect municipal employees from expensive lawsuits but also to provide trust to their communities and citizens. CONNECT protects sensitive intelligence while also automatically storing all messages in a private cloud. When using the CONNECT platform, mistakes in communication cannot be unknowingly made, and case details cannot be lost.

Protect your officers and fortify trust within your community with texting compliance and secure SMS communication for first responders that are easy wins when they are done on CONNECT software.  Let CONNECT worry about security and compliance, so your public service employees can worry about protecting and serving their citizens.

See CONNECT in action!

Schedule a live demo and get answers to your specific questions. See how CONNECT can drastically improve communication and collaboration within your agency.