The number of mobile applications being created for
police officers and other first responders is rapidly growing. Some are
specifically for an officer’s personal use, and some are meant to be used to
facilitate communications and the sharing of information between multiple
officers. STING, created
by Orlando-based Intrepid Networks, is
one such system. STING is comprised of Web applications and a mobile
application. The app is suitable for SWAT, narcotics, vice,
surveillance, mobile field force, and advanced traffic/patrol units. STING can
also benefit any integrated response team.
Designed for situational awareness in real time and
to address communication issues during operations, the foundation of
the suite is integrating officer positions and information gathering into a
single mobile application. STING provides a live common operating picture (COP)
for your entire team to view. You can view an officer list, road/satellite map
and radar for greater context and situational awareness, in addition to automatically
disseminating information. Each officer’s respective location can be adjusted
or turned off at any time.
can hold a lot of information. Photo, text and voice-to-text notes can be
collected and shared easily among your team. All information is geo-tagged and
time-stamped for accuracy. You can receive notifications as information is
shared with you, and effortlessly view all captured data in chronological
order. After deletion, data is not archived to prevent undesired retrieval.
One of the main benefits is the increased
communications efficiency. “Ultimately we want to shorten the communication
loop to provide safer operations,” said Jason Winslow, business development
manager at Intrepid Networks.
Tactical teams and other police officers have to
rely on radios for communication on a regular basis. When they are called to a
scene for an emergency situation, such as a “shots fired” call, those
communications become so much more important—and increased radio communication
can lead to chaos, which can be dangerous. Increased confusion leads to reduced
situational awareness during dynamic situations.
“With police radios you can only transmit so much
information at one time, and what STING does is offer a better way to
communicate—a better way to create situational awareness,” Winslow said. “For
example, let’s say there are three or four tactical team members on a mission
trying to exchange information. Team Member 1 tells Team Member 2 where he
thinks he is, and Team Member 2 interprets where Team Member 1 thinks he is,
which may not be exactly where that team member is. With STING, any team member
can see exactly where the other team members are.
“Now imagine a situation where an offender is
fleeing, or there are shots fired, or where you have an ‘officer down’—that is
going to increase radio traffic and possibly create some confusion,” Winslow
said. Being able to use STING to find that injured officer is going to increase
the speed of response and increase the safety of the operators.
“It’s all about enhancing the flow of
information—the ability to save enough time on the radio simply by sharing
locations alone makes a difference,” Winslow said. “But when you combine that
with the ability to rapidly collect and disseminate other information like
notes or photographs, which can be shared automatically if selected on the
settings, that adds to operational efficiency.”
majority of STING users are SWAT team members, and they have very positive
feedback on the technology, according to Winslow. “Most of the teams have
reported a reduced use of radio communication between 25 percent and 50 percent,
freeing up radio time.”
recent field trial included deploying STING for security operations for the
U.S. Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C., where users reported STING was
“invaluable” to security operations. Also, Winslow said there is a department
in Florida that is currently using STING for patrol purposes, which has
reported time-savings with traffic court mainly because of the automatic time-
and location-stamp photo abilities of the app.
which has been around for about two years, was developed by founders Britt
Kane, who has an advanced technology background, and Joel Villa, who has a
app is designed to operate with existing commercial wireless devices as well as
next-generation tactical radios. The mobile apps are built for both iOS and
Android operating systems, while the web applications can be utilized by any
Internet connected device with a modern browser.
While some police departments offer department-issued
phones to their officers, many do not, but that doesn’t limit the officers who
want to use STING. Today most police officers, and most first responders in
general, carry their personal smartphones while on duty and use them for work
purposes—specifically to communicate with their team members.
As such, Intrepid Networks designed
the system architecture so that no data is stored on the mobile device. The
fact that Intrepid Networks stores all the data with their own secure servers
and none of the data is stored on the mobile device itself is a huge benefit,
according to Winslow. “The notes, photos and all data is deleted from the
device, so if a subpoena is served, it is directed at Intrepid and not the
officer’s personal mobile phone,” he said. Of course, there is an option for
agencies to store the data on internal servers.
Fees & Facts
Networks, which has been around for four years, controls the distribution of
the mobile apps and it is not available in the Apple App or Google Play stores.
It is meant for teams or larger groups to synchronize operations. To date,
there are many nationwide agencies using the STING system, and Intrepid
Networks is currently discussing deployment options with more than 200
vary, so interested departments should contact Intrepid Networks to ask about
pricing based on their department size (volume discounts are available. There
are subscription options with relatively inexpensive annual service fees
associated with the service, and there is also a one-time purchase fee option
where the agency can use its own servers or pay a fee to have Intrepid Networks
manage the data on Intrepid servers.
is designed specifically for law enforcement operations. Other situational
awareness solutions on the market are developed for military requirements first
and then marketed to public safety. “Every agency deserves a product designed
exactly for its needs, and we designed STING specifically for law enforcement
agencies” Winslow said.
Yesenia Duran is the former managing
editor of, and current contributing editor to, LAW and ORDER and Tactical Response Magazines. She specializes in police
technology devices and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.