Evertel CEO, Jeff Halstead, has been speaking with executives in cities that use Evertel to get their thoughts on policing. We hope it gives you insight into how other agencies are coping with these changing times, as well as utilizing Evertel for departmental communications.
Jeff recently spoke to Chief Basco, who is the Deputy Chief over the administrative bureau in a Louisiana police department. In this role, he manages officer training and the dispersion of public information.
Read the full interview below, or catch the highlights in bold.
Interview with Deputy Chief Basco
Jeff: Is there a message you would provide your peers regarding this difficult time in policing and how best to address the challenges we’re facing?
Chief Basco: I think the biggest thing is we have to remember is the reason 95% of us are in this job—that reason is because of the people. I think the people we are meant to serve are sitting out there, they know that we are doing right every day, they appreciate what we do, and they feel like they don’t have a voice on either side of the issue.
One of the things I’m trying to do is encourage young police officers and older ones to remind them why we got into this job in the first place.
Jeff: How do you think Evertel fits into current changes in policing?
I think Evertel would give the ability to fit a small piece of a huge jigsaw puzzle. We are going to be under a microscope now more than we ever have been in the centuries of law enforcement in America. We have to, as a profession, do a better job of educating officers about things you do that you don’t think are a big deal but overnight have the possibility to turn into a huge thing.
Jeff: You were one of the first agencies to get on our platform. Can you explain today to other chiefs and sheriffs how your police department is using Evertel?
Chief Basco: We have our different divisions and subgroups broken up into Rooms. The biggest thing that we have been using it for recently is with COVID-19. We had to put some of those social distancing rules and guidelines into place with our officers. We were an agency that still used a traditional roll call. So when phase one in Louisiana hit we had to change how we did everything.
Evertel before COVID-19 was used to send out officer safety information and paperwork. So what we use it for primarily now is our roll call. Officers come in, they get the officer safety alerts and the bulletins for warrants they need to put out.
Jeff: Can you tell us any stories about how Evertel has helped your department?
Chief Basco: Somebody went missing, and it was a mental health situation. We used Evertel to put the alert out. One of our officers was working an extra duty assignment at a grocery store and hadn’t been to a roll call to see the missing person bulletin (this was prior to COVID). He gets the alert on his phone, and about three hours later the missing person walked into the grocery store in an episode. So he was able to locate the person, engage the person, and because it was a mental health episode, we got the gentleman the help he needed and everything turned out safely.
I think that’s one of our biggest triumphs.
Jeff: We are concerned that officers are using illegal apps to share information, and they don’t even know it’s illegal. What advice would you have for these younger officers who don’t know they could be violating federal and state law?
Chief Basco: I think one of the downfalls we do have as a profession, in general, is that we don’t do enough education for cadet officers coming into the profession—whether it’s through the police academy or familiarization with your department—about some of the topics they need.
We do things right 98% of the time. We’re humans in a profession, and I think that we need to change this word to not a profession but a practice. Medical doctors used to do lobotomies because they thought that was the right thing to do. They don’t do them anymore because it’s a practice and they learned from what they did to better educate themselves to do better.
While we want to look at law enforcement as a profession, maybe we need to look at law enforcement as a practice. Every law enforcement officer I’ve talked to knows they can do better. We just need to give them the tools to facilitate them being better.