The Law Enforcement Today Radio Show featured Jeff Halstead, retired Chief of Police, Fort Worth PD—and Evertel Founder & President—in early 2022. The topics of discussion included the complex nature of both agency admin and patrol officer roles, as well as the use of force in policing and the dangers of time-delays for important briefings.
John “Jay” Wiley, the radio show’s host and retired Baltimore Police Sergeant, noted that it was slightly unusual to have Halstead on for an interview. Command staff can understandably be reluctant to talk about their work, but in today’s growing age of transparency, it’s crucial for the industry to be able to communicate the operations of their organization for citizens.
As a nationally-syndicated radio show, numerous stations are broadcasting the show’s content every week. The Law Enforcement Today Radio Show has also made Halstead’s interview available as a podcast. To listen to the full discussion, just follow this link. Otherwise, enjoy this written recap!
The Stress of Immediate, Strategic Decisions
With a solid 27 years in law enforcement, Halstead worked his way through the ranks to a PD Commander in Phoenix and a final 6 years as Chief of Police in Fort Worth. But even while serving as command staff, he made a point while promoting to get back in the patrol car at least once a month to remain sensitive to his officers’ challenges.
There’s no doubt that this generation of public safety professionals have to be masters of multitasking. They’ll have 5 or 7 different media sets feeding them information, and they’re constantly tasked with making strategic decisions immediately.
Nevertheless, it’s a common assumption in the industry that admin officials and high-ranking senior officials can “lose touch” because they are not on the streets.
Use of Force in Policing—from the Admin Perspective
We all agree that a lot of policing can be ugly, and that it only takes one horrible event for use of force that puts the entire profession under intense scrutiny. But on top of that, there are thousands of heroic acts every hour of every day that go by completely unnoticed.
Whenever there’s an instance of resistance or a combative action toward an officer, they usually have no other choice to deploy force. This is the most misunderstood issue seen in policing. We never want situations to escalate to this degree, and when they do, our primary goal is to handle them in the way we’ve been trained.
Nevertheless, from the admin perspective, we need to be prepared for the worst. In a bad use of force situation, it’s critical to act fast and get all of the facts. There’s such a short window of time to get ahead of the internal affairs, litigation and lawsuit files, and union representation. That’s why constant, open communication through all of the ranks is so critical.
We Need the Facts in Real-Time. Evertel Makes That Happen.
The need for transparency is nothing new. Yet some agencies are better at it than others. Halstead took the time during the interview to discuss on a particularly upsetting event that took place in 2009. There was a custody death involving a Taser weapon that was deployed for 54 seconds, and a resident who was mentally-ill died in custody. Even worse, Halstead wasn’t notified of the incident until almost 18 hours later.
There was already news coverage across all of the DFW metroplex, and he still hadn’t been briefed by the chain of command. He was bombarded by elected officials, community leaders, pastors, and activists. But since he still hadn’t been briefed, he didn’t have the facts, let alone a medical update.
These types of time delays make it look like an agency is covering something up, when in fact, they simply are not. Everyone in the agency needs to have all of the facts instantly and simultaneously to get that baseline start for both the criminal and administrative investigations.
No agency wants to experience a situation of bad use of force. That’s why the industry needs the power to communicate and collaborate throughout an entire agency with real-time, instant and compliant messages. The Evertel communication app finally makes that possible.
The tool allows for senior officials to receive intelligence updates directly to their computer and smartphone. Since the communications solution is specifically-designed for police and public safety professionals, it’s also completely compliant with the state and federal requirements for security and records retention.
With Evertel, administrative and senior staff can literally run a crime scene, a mass shooting, or any other crisis event right from their phone. You can even engage an entire multi-region response in SECONDS, all because everyone can communicate in real-time on the same compliant platform.
Halstead also made it clear that he’s happy to directly connect with anyone in this industry who’s looking to enhance their full-region collaboration to work any crisis incident. His personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org
Again, to listen to the full interview on the Law Enforcement Today Radio Show, hosted by John “Jay” Wiley, just follow this link. They covered a lot in their conversation, and their experience with policing and public safety is sure to be of interest to anyone in the industry, as well! on the