A common issue shared between neighboring law enforcement agencies and local and state units is being able to quickly alert their neighbors of BOLO or APB alerts of activities that may cross jurisdictions. BOLONet provides an additional alert path using cellular over a smartphone.
BOLONet will support P25 voice broadcasts.
The BOLO (Be On the LookOut) or APB (All Points Bulletin) have been used to alert units of important and mission critical messages from escapees to major disasters. It has generally been a voice announcement on an agency’s local voice dispatch channel, and it may be sent to an officer’s mobile data terminal. The problem with this system is it stays local. What about your neighboring agencies and state agencies that may be on disparate radio systems? How do I make sure that these other law enforcement agencies know of a threat without the dispatcher having to call the other agency on the landline or teletype?
BOLONet resolves this issue by providing the agency with a way to push a notification and message to all agencies and officers within the footprint of the event. BOLONet resides on an officer’s phone such as the Ulefone Armor X5 or other Android device, so when the dispatcher sends the BOLO or APB all users get the alert along with a map marking the GPS location of the event. Those outside the area of concern, as defined by agency, will not be disturbed by the alert unless they move into that area while the BOLO or APB is still active.
What sparked the idea for BOLONet was an actual event where local officers were alerted, but the state natural resources officer was not. Both agencies were on different radio systems and although the gunman was very near to the resources officer in the same county and was looking to shoot anyone in uniform. Fortunately, the resources officer ascertained the threat in time. If he had been notified earlier then he would have been better prepared for the threat.
BOLONet allows for quick and silent notification of the user saving precious seconds if the threat is near. Time doesn’t have to be spent locating a user, setting up a radio patch, or having to make a phone call. Technology is leveraged for safety and security. Plus cellular devices are already being carried by every officer whether it’s their personal device or agency provided. The BOLONet app is simply installed over the air in each officer's smartphone.
The BOLONet app tracks the location of the user, so alerts specific to their geographic location are always received. This is done through dynamic geofencing. As users move across an area they will be added to or excluded from agencies BOLOs. When a local dispatcher pushes a message out to their agency’s officers via the web interface, the alert will be passed to all users both local and other agencies that are members of the network. The incoming alert will display on the officer’s phone, and if desired may arrive at his MDT or computer. With today’s smartwatches, the officer may even see the alert on their watch.
The dispatch client will be capable of setting levels of severity as well as target specific users if needed. The app will be idle in the background until an alert occurs, and it can be setup to interrupt other applications and tasks to ensure the officer gets the alert. Two-way capability is available to allow silent confirmation and text messaging back over the network to dispatch and other users.
When an APB or BOLO is activated at the regional E911 dispatch center it is then transmitted over the various radio channels, email, or text message reflecting the contents of the voice broadcast. From there it is sent to the local or regional DataGate where it is re-broadcast over geo-controlled cellular channels to Ulefones or other smartphone device in officer's hands.
When a suspect is spotted, the officer can enter the location and direction of travel in the smartphone in seconds which is automatically rebroadcast to every officer's screen in seconds.
Bypasses the need for dispatchers to relay the information which can take minutes with all the voice chatter that is part of merged dispatching channels.
Pictures of suspects can be broadcast in seconds to every BOLONet smartphone within the geo-zone. You simply can't do that with any P25 portable.
BOLONet can prioritize an immediate broadcast to all officers and patrol cars involved, bypassing the need to relay through dispatch who may be flooded with calls.
The vast majority of law enforcement departments across the country use P25. AT&T's FirstNet service may not be the best solution for rural areas. It's a known fact that P25 radio channels get congested in emergency situations. During an emergency when a BOLO/APB is broadcast over the radio channels, many officers may be preoccupied and not hear the first broadcast. An Android smartphone with BOLONet installed will immediately alert the officer who can review and respond as needed either over the smartphone or P25 radio.
Datalink's BOLONet, like FirstNet, is also cellular based, but unlike FirstNet BOLONet is not locked to one network like FirstNet is with AT&T. NextM2M used by BOLONet is network agnostic meaning the device connects to the tower with the best signal.
Simply put, BOLONet puts a faster and more functional tool in the hands of each officer.