The Difference Between Panic and Peace

June 15, 2021

Accurate, real-time information is critical in any form of communication. And when it comes to public safety, communicating accurate information can literally save lives. Accurate information is POWER!

Once inaccurate or misrepresented information leaks into the community, it can be a challenge, and more importantly, very time consuming to overcome. That’s why it’s paramount for Law Enforcement to have the ability to efficiently share and receive vital information with their community in a time-sensitive manner, keeping them safe and engaged.

Below is an example of the Vineland Police Department’s Community Alert System, it’s one of the many tools and resources featured on the OPS National Law Enforcement and Community Policing Integrated Network (OPS Network).

During a recent incident at a Vineland, New Jersey Shopping Mall, a person was shot in the parking lot of the complex. Naturally, this incident caused a great deal of initial panic in the surrounding community. Concerns of a mass shooting incident or random attack were circulating on social media. Some of that information was 100% false. Accurate information, which could be trusted, needed to get out to the public fast, quelling the rumors and silencing the story tellers.

Quick action and information sharing by the Vineland Police Department quickly brought peace to the community.

The Vineland Police Department (VPD) in New Jersey is an OPS Network Partner Agency and has the tools needed to communicate direct with their community…….and they know how to use them very effectively. Utilizing the OPS Network ALERTS MODULE, officers were able to, at the click of a button, distribute a community wide ALERT, advising the public that the shooting incident at the local mall was believed to be an isolated matter. This ALERT was also shared publically by other OPS Network Partner Agencies in the area. In addition, when detectives made an arrest a short time later, an updated ALERT was pushed out that advised the community that the suspect was in custody and all was safe.

To ensure that this information was getting to as many members of the public as possible, the VPD also pushed this information over to the OPS Network PRESS MODULE and instantly distributed a Press Release to the media, which was picked up and put online within minutes.

Swift action and accurate information sharing by the Vineland Police Department quickly brought peace and a sense of calm to the community.

There are a few very critical keys to utilizing these notification tools effectively:

  1. They need to be easy to use by numerous users within the agency, not just the Chief or Captain.
  2. Non-technical officers should be able to use the system without intimidation.
  3. Any alert should originate from the issuing agency’s official Community Interface (or website) and then be pushed out to social media channels. In the current era of phony news, users need to be able to trust and verify that the information they are getting is accurate.
  4. Reserve your Community Alerts for important information. If you over use the alerts, they will lose thier impact on the public.
  5. Community members should be able to subscribe to receive alerts quickly. Make it easy!

Use of a true Community Policing Network, such as the OPS National Law Enforcement and Community Policing Integrated Network (OPS Network) makes all of the above not only possible, but simple and effective.

Remember, ACCURATE information is power and we should not be afraid to share it when appropriate. Used correctly, a free flow of information can be the difference between panic and peace.

Learn More

Interested in learning more about the OPS National Law Enforcement and Community Policing Integrated Network (OPS Network)?  Click HERE to schedule an in-person or virtual tour of OPS today.