Case study: How one PD used a communications platform to share homicide intelligence
The Haltom City, Texas, Police Department was looking for a solution that allowed instant, secure collaboration compliant with relevant laws
Content provided by Evertel
Challenge: Conventional law enforcement communication tools and available mobile apps prevent officers from communicating and collaborating instantly, securely and compliantly, all at the same time.
Solution: The Evertel platform provided the Haltom City, Texas, Police Department with a tool where officers and department employees can communicate and share intelligence in less than one second at their fingertips via their cell phones and patrol car laptops, all while doing so safely and in compliance with state and federal laws.
Results: Important messages and alerts for ongoing crimes, investigations and emergency events are now distributed to all who need them in any department in the region, which has led to faster crime solving and more immediate control of emergency situations. Additionally, the department can now provide archived message chains to the district attorney so those exchanges are used effectively in court prosecutions. The implementation of the Evertel technology platform ultimately enables Haltom City PD to serve the community more safely, efficiently and effectively.
Solving long-standing issues facing law enforcement
Effective and efficient sharing of critical information is paramount for law enforcement to adequately serve and protect citizens. Until this most recent decade, land-to-mobile radios and email were the primary means for officer communication, causing enhanced delays and opening the opportunity for misinformation to become an issue. Recent advancements in communication technology have paved the way for increased usage of mobile devices by officers on-duty to collaborate effectively and efficiently, hoping to mitigate these complications law enforcement agencies have experienced for decades.
Officers across law enforcement today use many of the same platforms citizens use to communicate, or even SMS texting, to relay messages and information. While these tools, like WhatsApp and Signal, enable instant communication between officers and their departments, they are incredibly insecure and violate federal and state-level public records laws. In fact, the Texas Senate Bill 944 mandates that any public information on a privately owned device shall be forwarded or transferred to the governmental body or a governmental body server to be preserved, which would not be feasible if the information were to be compromised through a public messaging platform. Further, many departments are unaware that the utilization of those platforms can lead to serious legal ramifications, along with the fact they’re easily susceptible to being compromised.
“When we learned about the risks in using public messaging platforms, it was put on the forefront that we identify a communications platform where we can collaborate instantly, but in a way that’s secure and compliant with relevant laws,” said Cody Phillips, Haltom City PD Chief of Police.
To find the ideal tool to accomplish these needs, Chief Phillips reconnected with an old peer in retired Fort Worth Police Department Police Chief, Jeff Halstead, who introduced him and the department to Evertel, the leading collaboration platform in law enforcement.
How Evertel became the optimal solution for Haltom City
Chief Phillips is constantly looking forward and analyzing how he can best equip his officers in their line of duty. “I want to make sure I supply all of our people with the best tools and resources to do their jobs effectively; tools that give them and citizens solutions when they need them most,” Phillips said. The leadership shown here by Chief Philips led him and Haltom City PD to the Evertel platform.
When introduced to Evertel in 2019, Haltom City PD was impressed with the unique features the platform offered – such as individual chat rooms, ability to add members across different agencies and much more – along with the ensured safety of critical case information being stored compliantly. The organization has been using the platform ever since that day, and they continue to reap its benefits in everyday operations and in the midst of responding to crimes and emergency events.
In January 2021, Haltom City PD responded to a local homicide and utilized Evertel to serve as the investigation’s communications hub. Patrol officers and detectives were using Evertel chat rooms to communicate, collaborate and share relevant information regarding the crime and case. The exchange of information was rapid and distributed to all responding officers instantly, including those who wouldn’t normally be in the investigation process if the communication took place on another platform. This resulted in swift detainment of the suspects.
Further, when officers and detectives interviewed eyewitnesses on the events involved in the homicide, they were able to document and archive all discussions relevant to the case in chronological order in secure, dedicated channels in compliance with federal and Texas state laws, a feature only available through Evertel. This not only enabled officers and detectives to review all messages quickly throughout their own investigations, they were also able to deliver archived messages to the district attorney for evidence in the criminal court case.
Haltom City PD continues to utilize Evertel for communications and collaboration for homicide response and investigations, with the platform producing similar results of quick detainment and effective usage of archived messages in court cases. The department has also integrated its SWAT team on Evertel, and the local Emergency Operations Control is also connected with the police department across the platform for any emergencies that arise.
“Having Evertel at their disposal allows Chief Phillips and his entire department to serve and protect their community more safely, effectively and efficiently,” said Jeff Halstead, cofounder and president of Evertel. “That is the future of law enforcement and Haltom City PD is much ahead of the curve in this regard.”
Cofounded by 27-year law enforcement veteran and retired Police Chief, Jeff Halstead, Evertel is the leading collaboration platform in law enforcement. The platform brings all agency communication and intelligence sharing together through a single platform for messaging, file storage and intelligence collaboration – eliminating the use of non-compliant and insecure messaging apps. Evertel also provides true interoperability for first responders and participating agencies in crisis events, ensuring critical intelligence can be shared instantly with those that need it.
Launched in 2017, nearly 20,000 police officers, firefighters, and paramedics have used Evertel to improve daily operations and efficiencies, and keep their employees and communities safe by being better informed.
Visit www.getevertel.com to learn more.