- Photo Courtesy of Axon

Photo Courtesy of Axon

I can’t tell you how tired I am of news alerts on my phone that another active shooter scenario has taken place. It saddens me, it frustrates me, and it compels me to keep pressing for new technology solutions that can help change outcomes. 

Of course, that’s nothing compared to what first responders bear witness to during these tragedies. I am humbled by your bravery, and it’s my life’s work to make your life’s work safer for everyone involved. That’s why I believe layering different technology solutions offers the best chance to reduce the harm of these much-too-frequent events. 

It Starts With A Swift Response

In the era of smartphones and sophisticated apps, public safety is starting to benefit from the same modern technologies that consumers use. Alerts and notifications, live status tracking, relaying information with the press of a touchscreen button—features like these are coming together to help a police response begin nearly at the moment an incident occurs. 

For example, as a situation begins, onsite building personnel could activate a solution like Fūsus, where complementary footage from CCTV, doorbell cams, in-car cameras and others can be streamed into singular view within real-time crime centers or command centers. This has the potential to give command staff critical information possibly even before a 911 call occurs. And as the calls eventually come in, emergency response platforms like RapidSOS can pair officer location with other information about 911 callers, to give a clear view of who may be best positioned to help. Additionally, modern dispatch solutions can activate body cameras in the area, so that important context is captured from the get-go. Together, solutions like these can give a more immediate view of events when time is of the essence.

Enabling Greater Real-time Situational Awareness

As an incident is unfolding, the sooner intel on the situation is in one place, the better. Thankfully the options to capture and view events in real-time have expanded enormously in recent years. Body cameras are now nearly ubiquitous, with current best-of-breed models offering features like full LTE connections, turning them into connected safety beacons that can livestream and share location like the smartest consumer devices do. In-car cameras have advanced as well, not only with expanded views and higher-quality imaging, but with integrated services like ALPR that can help with downstream investigation. And drones have enormous potential to grow in impact. It’s why we’ve chosen to partner with some of the leading solutions like Dedrone for airspace security, Fotokite, DJI and Skydio for best-in-class evidence recording, and DroneSense to power the software ensuring seamless real-time capture and sharing. 

More Efficient Investigation To Speed Up Justice

The complexity of large-scale incidents can make for an overwhelming amount of data during an investigation. A mix of automations and integrations can help reduce this burden and improve the efficiency of an incident’s aftermath. Flock Safety, for example, offers fixed ALPR and a powerful back-end that can be searched along a number of specific dimensions. Cellebrite can help unearth critical device data that may otherwise be lost. And I was so impressed by one provider’s forensic video investigation software that we acquired them. We’ve now integrated their feature set as Axon Investigate, which works within our expansive DEMS platform that already offers powerful redaction, auto-transcription and more tools that can help in multi-faceted investigations. There are more innovations on the horizon, within Axon and among our partners, and we’ll continue to champion new, more streamlined ways of managing information. 

Supporting Officers Through It All

I believe the toll that active shooter and other incidents take on first responders is an underreported aspect of the news stories that follow. Any discussion of how technology can help in these scenarios should include officer training and well-being, where again we’re seeing advancements like virtual reality training that can help officers better prepare for the worst, peer coaching platforms and apps that allow officers to connect with others who get it, and content and resources that can be accessed digitally and anonymously, like those we offer through our Axon Aid program. It’s important to me that any technology innovation recognizes the humanity of those using it.

It Takes An Ecosystem

There’s no one technology that can solve the intractable problem of active shooter or other large-scale critical incidents. But by bringing the best innovations together into an ecosystem that supports first responders at the onset of, during and after an incident, agencies can set themselves up to better and more safely manage these unpredictable situations.