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Saving Time, Saving Lives: How the Right Message to the Right People Makes All the Difference

“In policing, we subscribe to Murphy’s Law,” explains Paul Hallett, Inspector at Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS), situated just East of Toronto, Ontario. “If the worst is going to happen, then it’s going to happen at 2:00 AM on a Saturday when no one is around and the units you need aren’t operative. Luckily, in our case, we can just ‘AtHoc’ them.”

As one of Canada’s ten largest police services, DRPS also manages one of the more geographically diverse jurisdictions in the country. Covering over 2,500 square kilometers, Durham Region comprises several major urban centers, multiple rural communities, and extensive wilderness. Mounting an effective police response across the area tends to be a highly complex undertaking, more so if DRPS is required to call in one of its 19 specialty units, which run the gamut from police dogs to hostage negotiators.

That’s why DRPS has relied on BlackBerry® AtHoc® since 2017. A critical event management platform designed for the public sector, AtHoc offers automated two-way mass notifications, personnel accountability, situational awareness via geo-tagged media, and seamless integration with existing communication tools. In DRPS’ case, it’s used the platform’s two-way alerting to replace its previous communications infrastructure, which was both cumbersome and inefficient.

“Our vision is to have the safest community in which to live, work, and play,” Hallett, who currently leads DRPS’ 911 operations center, explains. “We can’t do that if our operators are constantly struggling to figure out who they need to contact in any given situation. An emergency doesn’t care if you can’t find an updated schedule or an email thread – it’s going to keep developing regardless.”

AtHoc in Action – Mounting an Effective Response

Imagine, for example, that an at-risk individual goes missing near the Ganaraska Forest in Durham Region. The moment the missing person is reported, DRPS’ 911 operations center can mobilize its search and rescue unit, including K-9, helicopter, and ground teams. The streamlined alerting AtHoc provides can significantly increase the chances of finding the missing person quickly – and bringing them home safe.

Keeping Crises Under Control

The BlackBerry AtHoc platform has proved invaluable for the DRPS communications center, Hallett says. Operators no longer need to worry if they’ll be able to reach the needed personnel during an emergency. Instead, they can mobilize DRPS forces with the push of a button, then turn their attention towards managing the developing situation.

“The worst incidents always happen when you don’t have people around to respond,” Hallett concludes. “I don’t think there’s any premeditation there, that’s just life. But thanks to BlackBerry AtHoc, we’re ready for even the worst life can throw at us.”

Read more about how DRPS is using BlackBerry AtHoc. 

Ramon Pinero

About Ramon Pinero

Ramon Pinero is Vice President, Product and Services, BlackBerry AtHoc.