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Law Enforcement Today Radio Show—Interview Recap Featuring Evertel Founder, Jeff Halstead

The Law Enforcement Today Radio Show featured Jeff Halstead, retired Chief of Police, Fort Worth PD—and Evertel Founder & President—in early 2022. The topics of discussion included the complex nature of both agency admin and patrol officer roles, as well as the use of force in policing and the dangers of time delays for important briefings.

John “Jay” Wiley, the radio show’s host and retired Baltimore Police Sergeant, noted that it was slightly unusual to have Halstead on for an interview. Command staff can understandably be reluctant to talk about their work, but in today’s growing age of transparency, it’s crucial for the industry to be able to communicate the operations of their organization to citizens.

The Stress of Immediate Strategic Decisions

With a solid 27 years in law enforcement, Halstead worked his way through the ranks to become a PD Commander in Phoenix and a final 6 years as Chief of Police in Fort Worth. But even while serving as command staff, he made a point while promoting to get back in the patrol car at least once a month to remain sensitive to his officers’ challenges.

There’s no doubt that this generation of public safety professionals has to be masters of multitasking. They’ll have five or seven different media sets feeding them information, and they’re constantly tasked with making strategic decisions immediately.

Nevertheless, it’s a common assumption in the industry that administrative officials and high-ranking senior officials can “lose touch” because they are not on the streets.

Use of Force in Policing—from the Admin Perspective

We all agree that a lot of policing can be ugly and that it only takes one horrible event entailing the use of force to put the entire profession under intense scrutiny. But on top of that, there are thousands of heroic acts every hour of every day that go by completely unnoticed.

Whenever there’s an instance of resistance or a combative action toward an officer, they usually have no other choice but to deploy force. This is the most misunderstood issue in policing. We never want situations to escalate to this degree, and when they do, our primary goal is to handle them in the way we’ve been trained.

Nevertheless, from an admin perspective, we need to be prepared for the worst. In a bad use of force situation, it’s critical to act fast and get all of the facts. There’s such a short window of time to get ahead of internal affairs, litigation and lawsuit files, and union representation. That’s why constant, open communication through all of the ranks is so critical.

We Need the Facts in Real-Time. CONNECT Makes That Happen.

The need for transparency is nothing new. Yet some agencies are better at it than others. Halstead took the time during the interview to discuss a particularly upsetting event that took place in 2009. There was a custody death involving a Taser weapon that was deployed for 54 seconds, and a resident who was mentally ill died in custody. Even worse, Halstead wasn’t notified of the incident until almost 18 hours later.

There was already news coverage across all of the DFW metroplex, and he still hadn’t been briefed by the chain of command. He was bombarded by elected officials, community leaders, pastors, and activists. But since he still hadn’t been briefed, he didn’t have the facts, let alone a medical update.

These types of time delays make it look like an agency is covering something up when, in fact, they simply are not. Everyone in the agency needs to have all of the facts instantly and simultaneously to get that baseline start for both the criminal and administrative investigations.

No agency wants to experience a situation of bad use of force. That’s why the industry needs the power to communicate and collaborate throughout an entire agency with real-time, instant, and compliant messages. The Genasys Protect CONNECT (formerly Evertel) communication app finally makes that possible.

The CONNECT tool allows senior officials to receive intelligence updates directly on their computers and smartphones. Since the communications solution is specifically designed for police and public safety professionals, it’s also completely compliant with state and federal requirements for security and record retention.

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With CONNECT, administrative and senior staff can literally run a crime scene, a mass shooting, or any other crisis event right from their phones. You can even engage an entire multi-region response in SECONDS, all because everyone can communicate in real-time on the same compliant platform.

Halstead also made it clear that he’s happy to directly connect with anyone in this industry who’s looking to enhance their full-region collaboration to work on any crisis incident.

See CONNECT in action!

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

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