has moved into a new and exciting area as it links the private sector and the emergency response community. Info-Cop is a New Jersey-based company that provides wireless-based law enforcement information software. Info-Cop provides officers with direct access to various databases in seconds. Officers using laptops, pocket PCs, and smart phones can use Info-Cop to connect to a wireless system.
Info-Cop goes well beyond the limited information provided by telecommunicators over two-way radios. Officers in the field easily and quickly obtain the wireless access to the variety of data. Using a central server, officers can query databases such as their agency computer aided dispatch system and records management system, the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (NLETS), and the National Crime Information Center (NCIC). Info-Cop is compatible with a variety of databases and enables real-time tracking of agency summons or warnings. Warrant information is available within seconds—instead of minutes—and comes with mug shots!
Info-Cop now also runs on the BlackBerry platform as developed by Research in Motion (RIM). Info-Cop can even allow remote management of devices, which helps in controlling stolen or lost devices. Because the Info-Cop application for BlackBerry functions on an existing server, there is no need for separate server administration.
Rich Picolli, president and CEO of Info-Cop, said “Info-Cop has taken security to the highest level by implementing NIST Certified AES-256 RSA encryption in all its Info-Cop software for BlackBerry, making it FIPS 140-2 compliant. This level of encryption is so secure that the U.S. government allows it to be used for more than 80 percent of communications.
In addition, the Info-Cop software for BlackBerry establishes a direction connection to the Info-Cop server, which controls the data from end to end, ensuring law enforcement agencies that their data is security protected.
One department using Info-Cop with BlackBerry devices is Jersey City, NJ Police Department. John Tkaczyk serves as the department MIS director and said, “After testing Info-Cop on BlackBerry, we were amazed at how well it performed. It is a perfect marriage of the best mobile data application for law enforcement and public safety coupled with the best messaging platform.”
The use of BlackBerry-type devices is the future of law enforcement. The use of Info-Cop and BlackBerry can connect all officers to data including officers on horseback, foot patrol, bike patrol or squad. BlackBerry units are functional, easy to use, feature pull-down menus, and have one-touch updates and assistance. Newark, NJ Police Department MIS Director Peter Lutz said, “The product is easy to use, and training officers on Info-Cop takes literally 10 minutes.”
Using Windows-based software, Info-Cop has many benefits. It can look up six plates at a time, alert officers of warnings and summons, and can flag people or cars, quickly notifying the next officer of a concern.
Using Perth Amboy, NJ as a pilot project, Info-Cop has now made the link with the private sector and the emergency response community, permitting interoperability between private and public agencies. It is deployed in an industrial area in Perth Amboy, where there are several major petro-chemical installations, and it is the northern terminus for the Colonial Pipeline, which transports more than 100 million gallons of petroleum products from Texas through the South into the Northeast on a daily basis.
Chief Kohut of the Perth Amboy, NJ Police Department oversees this project. Each of the industrial facilities will use the Info-Cop software to connect directly with the police and fire departments, creating a unique private-public partnership that will assist in not only crisis response, but all levels, including planning, preparation and recovery.
The private corporations’ safety and security personnel are able to provide information on vehicles or people trying to gain access to their facility. Perth Amboy Police dispatch center will monitor such requests and dispatch law enforcement officers accordingly, creating an impressive proactive approach to possible terrorist threats.
CEO Picolli said, “This level of interoperability ensures that the execution of established response plans and the carrying out of incident command is reinforced and available upon demand. This system leaves no entity without a direct link and direction in times of chaos, it is taking best practices to the next level.”
These partnerships certainly fit in with the National Incident Management System and will greatly enhance a critical incident response, whether due to a terrorism incident or a natural disaster. Kevin Gordon spent 25 years in law enforcement and retired as a chief of police. He can be reached at Kevin@KGordon.com.