Montgomery Co. Sheriff's Office Becomes First in the State of Alabama to Use New App To Improve Communication, Safety

August 13, 2014

Originally printed at http://www.waka.com/news/montgomery-news/Montgomery-Co-Sheriffs-Office-Uses-New-App-To-Improve-Communication-Safety-271141841.html

By Catalina Trivino
August 13, 2014

The Montgomery County Sheriff's office has a new app they hope will improve communication within the department.

As part of the gear law enforcement wear, it's nothing new they use radios to communicate with each other. But the radios don't do any good once it loses signal -- and for the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office that could happen as close to Wetumpka. But thanks to the "Be On" app, they'll be able to communicate anywhere by phone or tablet.

It may look like Montgomery County Deputies are playing on their phones, but this is far from a game.

"You think you can do something, you can run and you can hide but we've got ways of finding you," said Cunningham.

Finding you not just by radio communication, but by also using the "Be On" app. It turns a deputy's smart phone into a radio. Patrol Captain, John Briggs, says what it does could save a life.

"There are areas in the county where we don't have radio coverage using our conventional police radio, but we do have cellphone coverage! This allows us to extend that radio coverage into those weak areas that we have," said Cpt. Briggs.

So just how far does the signal extend? Nationwide.

In fact, we tested it out for ourselves by calling another deputy through the app, who was located in another city.

"Montgomery County 6 to Dirk in Mobile, can you read me?" asked Cpt. Briggs through the app.

"10-4 Captain! Sorry for the long response from the traffic that I'm hearing from dispatch. This is Dirk in Mobile and I am 10-2 copy on you car 6," responded the patrol officer.

"No matter where we go, we have access to our police radio through our telephone," said Cpt. Briggs.

In the case of a pursuit, Chief Deputy Derrick Cunningham says there's no chance they'll lose radio signal to communicate with fellow patrol units. With their live dash feed -- new technology installed back in May -- and the "BeOn" radio app to communicate anytime and anywhere -- Cunningham says be ready to get caught.

"With this hear alone without radio traffic, I can be here and tell you hey, he just turned here on this road, he just turned on that road . And we'lll be able to keep other cars that responded up to date on the turn by turn play of what's taking place," said Cunningham.

Cunnigham says this is another way they can talk to deputies to strategize on what to do next while on pursuit or on any crime scene. They're the first law enforcement agency in Alabama to have this app. The $36,000 system was funded by the Department of Homeland Security.

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