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

,

How to Keep Your Police Agency and the Community Informed

We spoke with Tony Raimondo, Deputy Chief of Police, from Sanford, Florida. He helped his department become the first agency in Florida to use Genasys Protect CONNECT (formerly Evertel), and through the years, his organization has found it to be beneficial.

During the pandemic, they used CONNECT to replace in-person briefings and to centralize messaging around the department.

Interview with Deputy Chief of Police Tony Raimondo

The police profession has been in the headlines for months. What do you see as the greatest challenge in the next one to two years for your employees and the profession?

Chief Raimondo: I think the biggest challenge is going to be to continue to build on the foundation that we have been working on now at our police department for eight or nine years to try to re-establish a strong community connection and earn public legitimacy and trust. 

While there has been some turmoil, our community has managed to avoid some of that, and we think the strength of relationships and the way we communicate are part of that.

When you and other leaders internally look at these challenges, can you describe how you use CONNECT to address these plans?

Chief Raimondo: One thing we have learned from managing crises previously is that you have got to be ahead of your own messaging. You cannot allow people to craft the narrative. While we do a pretty good job of putting our message out there, it’s always being refined. 

We’ve had everything in Florida, from the Black Lives Matter protests to the COVID-19 anti-mask movement. One of the things we are able to do with CONNECT is communicate our message internally to our employees who are actually out on post and have their devices with them so that when our message changes, they know how it has transformed. There’s no catch-up, they don’t have to go log into something, and they don’t have to wait for a sergeant to tell them. They have a device with them to know what type of messaging we are having with both our internal and external customers.

Is there a message you would give to your peers regarding this difficult time? How are you handling these challenges?

Chief Raimondo: The hallmark of our success locally has been that we have not been the recipient of any civil unrest. We have walked hand in hand with our communities and prevented that. And I think we did that by capitalizing on the strength of relationships in the community which we continue to build. It’s an organizational and cultural thing that has made us successful.

We have just always seen ourselves as the facilitators of free speech. We never drew a line in the sand with our community. If there was a protest to be had—whether it was on police brutality or some other issue—we were always at the front of that march, marching with those people who had a message, as long as it wasn’t contrary to our values.

As a law enforcement organization, we are immediately prepared to act, prevent violence, protect lives, preserve order, and protect property. But it’s never come to that because we never stood in the way of free speech here. In almost every instance, it has worked to our benefit.

How does your police department use CONNECT?

Chief Raimondo: One of my city’s strategic goals is the utilization of technology. We are always looking for new ways to embrace technology. Communication is, of course, a big component of that. And I’ll be honest with you—when I initially proposed that we get another way to get connected as an organization, I thought, well, how many ways can we have, how much redundancy do we need? But since then, what I have learned is that my thinking was limited. I would encourage leaders to think outside the box. 

The ways we use CONNECT daily:

1. Each workgroup has its own independent messaging system. As things come down range from higher authority, we can see that these messages are being disseminated. There’s that old adage about how you put out information, and it goes from one person to the next person, and by the time you get to the end of that line, the message is transformed. What we see with CONNECT is a unified messaging platform. We know that the message has been transmitted equally to all facets of the organization. That’s important.

2. We’ve used CONNECT to mitigate some of our overtime expenses. Frankly, I’ve been able to minimize the necessity that I’m at work. For example, I was old school. When something happened and a message from the chief needed to be communicated, I was in the habit of going to eight or nine different briefings over the course of several days. That turns into 16-hour days for me, and you can’t always be sure that the exact same message is being transferred and received the same way. I adopted the practice of using CONNECT to, when appropriate, do these little snippets of video that my PIO would work with me to edit and cultivate, and then we put those out to the organization. So it’s a better use of time; we understand the message is unified, and everybody is getting it. 

3. We also use it to immediately disseminate information into the field. Young police officers today have a solid grasp on the utilization of technology, so what they are likely to do if they are out on a missing person report is grab a picture off the mantle, snap a picture of that, and send it out to the workforce very quickly so we know who we are looking for.

With COVID-19, we minimized the number of formal briefings we do. This is a way we can put 20 officers in cars spread out with social distancing, and they all get the same messaging at the same time.

What do you consider your biggest success story with CONNECT?

Chief Raimondo: From my perspective, the biggest success story from using this particular platform has been decentralized messaging while maintaining a unified message. There is no substitute for that.

Thank you to Chief Raimondo for taking the time to talk with us! Learn more about Genasys Protect CONNECT and schedule a demo today.