The realms of social media have so far seen it being used primarily for connecting with friends and family, sharing photos, news and playing games. However it looks like cops on the West Coast USA have found a new use for social media - and it makes a whole lot of sense. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Justice and the Police Executive Research Forum, 88% of law enforcement agencies reported using social media ranging from preventing crime, community policing to investigations and intelligence gathering, but only 49% had a social media policy.
This new platform, named BlueLine is being touted as a site where officers can share their expertise, insight and information securely through video, instant messaging, video conferencing and screen share capabilities. Intelligence through connecting with counterparts in the law enforcement profession is one of the greatest asset for cops. Being able to connect through a walled medium where users are verified and accredited means information can flow securely and quickly - creating a more effective overall police unit.
As well as being able to connect law enforcement professionals, BlueLine will connect companies who sell products geared for cops to them through the site. The site resembles the popular professional networking site LinkedIn but will require added layers of verification for the safety of it's members and information. Up until now, cops have been using traditional social networks to share information - every day living in the fear that this information could leak. The new platform will be housed in a secure data center that is compliant by the U.S. Department of Defense and the FBI's Criminal Justice Information Services.
The platform is created by LA Police Chief Bill Bratton - a former high-profile New York City police commissioner, who has since founded a VC-backed startup named 'Bratton Technologies'. In the past, Bratton created Compstat, the innovative crime-mapping system used in New York, Los Angeles and several other major cities. Compstat uses computer data to direct police to specific high-crime areas.
BlueLine is currently being tested by around 100 law enforcement agencies in California and will be available to go live in October 2013.