Technology and Communications

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Franklin Township Police Department

 Public Safety Building 
495 Demott Lane • Somerset 
New Jersey 08873

Telephone 732-873-5533

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BUREAU OF TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS

The Bureau of Technology and Communications maintains three major programs:
Mobile Video Recorders (MVR’s)
Mobile Personal Computers (MPC’s)

Automated External Defibrillators (AED’s)

 

MOBILE VIDEO RECORDERS (MVR’S): 
The department began experimenting with mobile video recorder (MVR’s) in the mid 1990's. They were mostly used to videotape drunk driver enforcement patrols. Since then, we have experienced the advantages of having MVR’s and as a result, we equipped all of our marked patrol cars with MVR’s.  In May 2008, the Franklin Twp. Police Department started the transition from VHS to digital video.  The digital video is stored in the vehicle and when the vehicle returns to headquarters, the video is transferred wirelessly to a secure server.  The new system has no moving parts and is less likely to fail.
  
The MVR’s are beneficial to both the officers and the public. The MVR provides an unbiased third party account of police-citizen encounters. Even if the officer is out of camera view, the body microphone he is wearing continues to record audio for up to approximately several hundred feet from the patrol car. While the Franklin Twp. Police Department embraces a cooperative relationship with the citizens of the Township, we live in a society where mistrust and allegations of police misconduct headline in newspapers across the country.  When the video camera is in operation and there is an allegation of misconduct, police commanders can review the video and substantiate or discredit the allegation. If the misconduct is substantiated, appropriated disciplinary action can be taken.

On the other hand, when false allegations of police misconduct are made, the officer knows that he will be quickly exonerated.  Furthermore, criminal charges can be brought forth against those that make false allegations against honest, hardworking police officers that sacrifice their lives to keep the streets of Franklin Twp. safe and secure for citizens. These cameras also allow us to capture video, which in most circumstances helps us identify and catch criminals that assault or kill police officers. Even if the officer can't communicate because of his injuries, the video account helps the police identify the assailant. 

MOBILE PERSONAL COMPUTERS (MPC’S): 

The department began the implementation of this project in the spring of 2000 with the installation of the computer server for the mobile computer system and the purchase of three Mobile Personal Computers (MPC’s). The department currently has equipped our police cars with docking stations and MPC’s.  Several desktop computers at police headquarters are also equipped with the mobile computer software on the MPC’s, which allows the Police Communications Center to wirelessly communicate with officers in the field without broadcasting confidential information over the radio. 

There are many advantages to having MPC’s in the police cars.  The most important advantage is increased officer safety.  Without the computer, an officer would have to communicate with police headquarters via radio for a registration look-up and/or to check to see if the driver is wanted criminal.  In many cases, the officer would initiate the car stop and approach the vehicle and occupants without any available information. The MPC equips the police officer with the ability to conduct a registration inquiry within seconds and obtain the vehicle registration status, the registered owner’s driver license status and whether the vehicle is stolen or the registered owner is a wanted criminal.  Having this information before the police officer initiates the stop is critical and could mean the difference between life and death for the police officer.

The use of MPC’s also keeps the roads safer for motorists by allowing police officers to identify expired and revoked registrations and driver's licenses efficiently.  Identification of these violations allows police officers to keep these cars off the road, making it safer for the motoring public.  The number of summonses issued for unregistered vehicles and suspended drivers has increased significantly after implementing this system.  During random patrol activities, police officers have stringent guidelines in place and are required to utilize a random registration inquiry, which only provides the police officers with the registered owner’s personal information if the registered owner is a wanted criminal and/or driving while suspended.  This system is in place as a safeguard to protect the privacy of citizens.

As of 2007, police officers also gained the ability to receive dispatch information when responding to an incident and complete their reports directly on the MPC. This increases the efficiency of the police officers and allows supervisors to electronically review and approve, maximizing the amount of time the police officers are on the roadway.
                    
AUTOMATED EXTERNAL DEFIBRILLATORS (AED’S):

Thanks to a donation of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) by the Franklin Township Senior Citizen's Club, the police department implemented an early defibrillation program in December of 1999.  This program was specifically designed to increase the survival of victims of Sudden Cardiac Arrest.  Sudden Cardiac Arrest claims the lives of more than 250,000 individuals annually in the United States.  The majority of these deaths occur as a result of a cardiac rhythm disturbance called ventricular fibrillation.  The only effective treatment for ventricular fibrillation is defibrillation, commonly referred to as a shock.  Defibrillation allows a shock to be delivered to the victim’s heart, which in essence resets the electrical pattern of the heart to restore an organized rhythm that can sustain life.  Studies have shown that early defibrillation is essential in improving the survival of individuals in cardiac arrest.  Every minute that defibrillation is delayed; the survival rate drops by 7-10 percent. All of our police officer’s are certified by the American Heart Association in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for Healthcare Providers and trained in the use of AED’s, which allows police officers responding to a cardiac arrest incident to perform CPR and defibrillate victim’s with AED’s when applicable. 

The department is now equipped with 13 AED’s.  Eight of the AED’s were received free from Somerset County, NJ.  The first documented “save” by one of our police officers came on July 12, 2000 after a man collapsed outside his home in the Somerset section of the Township.  The police communications center received a 9-1-1 call reporting the incident and within 22 seconds after receiving the call, tele-communicators dispatched Officer Mark Reiner to the scene.  Officer Reiner was CPR certified and trained in the use of AED’s.  Officer Reiner arrived on scene less than three minutes after the 9-1-1 call was received and found the victim with no pulse or breathing.  Officer Reiner applied the AED and successfully shocked the victim three times, correcting the victim’s rhythm disturbance and restoring circulation.  The victim had a pulse and was breathing on his own by the time he was transported to the hospital.  Since then, there have been many more instances where the use of an AED has saved lives.

Our police officers utilize AED’s and assist the Township EMS providers in delivering this critical service that helps to save the lives of the victims of sudden cardiac arrest within Franklin Township.