With attacks on universities and in public places becoming an almost weekly occurrence, finding ways to get police where they need to be, quickly, is vital. The University of North Carolina, Charlotte’s police department has been testing an app that maps out the university and tracks officers. The Effective Emergency Response Communication app aids officers during emergency situations by mapping the campus and keeping tabs on each other’s location through their iPod Touches.
The iPod Touches are connected through a wireless Internet connection and interconnected through a command center. The command center serves as a base, tracking all officers and sending out 3D directions to the whereabouts of suspects or victims. The command center is just as mobile as the app itself. Last week, during training exercises, a command center was based on a computer in a police RV located outside of a library at the university. During the testing phase, UNC Police Chief Jeff Baker said, “We want as many platforms as possible to assist seeing and sending messages without radios.”
UNC worked closely with the Department of Homeland Security’s National Visualization and Analytics Center to develop the app, who hope to use its technology for the prevention and identification of potential attacks. The federal government will have full access to the app when it becomes functional, and will be able to sell it to the other university police programs.