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Improving Police Communications During Mass Shooting Events

Image of an El Paso Walmart and parking lot where a mass shooting occured.

Background: On August 3rd, 2019, a gunman shot and killed 22 people and left at least two dozen more injured at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas. In addition to the first responders who arrived six minutes after receiving the 9-1-1 call, 12 to 15 different agencies responded to the attack, including the El Paso Police Department, paramedics, the FBI, and the Texas Rangers. The FBI investigated the shooting as domestic terrorism and a possible hate crime. 

Officials have described the shooting as one of the deadliest attacks on Latinos in U.S. history. The suspect, Patrick Crusius, a 21-year-old from Allen, Texas, was arrested shortly after the shooting and charged with capital murder. The police discovered a manifesto (with anti-immigrant and white nationalist themes written by Crusius) posted to a message board shortly after the attack. 

The Challenge

  • Each of the responding agencies had vital information regarding the shooting that needed to be communicated quickly between everyone at the scene and the El Paso Police Department, which was in charge of the case. However, the lack of an effective interagency communication tool made this impossible. 
  • Due to the lack of such a communication tool, respondents resorted to sharing information on unsecure, third-party services, including public text messages, social media, and email.
  • Once the scene was secure and the investigation began, the U.S. Attorney General began collecting any and all information that was shared by the agencies during their response. Because much of this information was shared on third-party services, the Attorney General was forced to issue subpoenas to collect the data, complicating and delaying the investigation by several months.

The Solution: 

  • First responders and all critical interagency employees who respond to mass shooting events need the ability to share vital information instantly over a federal and state-compliant secure platform. Genasys Protect CONNECT provides one such platform. CONNECT is an easy solution for instant, private communication between first responders, police departments, and other government agencies. Agencies can send messages within seconds to targeted teams or every employee in the agency. 
  • Unlike text messaging, social media, or email, where data can be deleted or seen by prying eyes, CONNECT doesn’t delete data and keeps your information private. In fact, agencies utilizing CONNECT own their data. The data is guarded with military-grade encryption to ensure it’s safe, private, and compliant with FOIA, CJIS, and HIPAA requirements.
  • When all agency communications happen through CONNECT, it’s simple to perform audits of all communications and gather all the information related to the case. These processes, which may have taken months to complete without CONNECT, can be finished in a matter of hours or days. 

The Results: 

  • By implementing CONNECT’s services, first responders and agencies would have been able to share information on the El Paso Walmart shooting case instantly, quickening their initial response and the following investigation.
  • First responders would be able to update the suspects’ location and details about the attack instantly with their partners, eliminating confusion and the need for insecure third-party communication tools.
  • The information-gathering stage of the U.S. Attorney General’s investigation could have been completed much faster without the need to subpoena third-party companies to collect data shared during the investigation.

Contact Genasys Protect CONNECT today and be ready for ANY crisis, disaster, emergency, or critical incident!

Contact us to learn more about CONNECT or to schedule a demo.