Thursday, December 13, 2012

Redwood City Police Chief a Premier IT Leader

We wanted to take a moment and highlight one of our very own community members' accomplishments.  Every year, Computerworld magazine honors 100 individuals as, "Premier IT Leaders." This year, our own Redwood City Police Chief JR Gamez was named as an honoree. These 100 honorees are designated for their innovative use of technology to solve problems within their business, organization, or community.


Scot Finney, editor-in-chief at Computerworld, states, "the Premier 100 awards program showcases the exceptional work of a dedicated group of senior IT leaders who are driving huge change in their organization." He continued, "every day, these exemplary business leaders make strategic technology decisions that track to their organizations' top priorities. These men and women keep a keen eye on the changing landscape of political, economic, regulatory and technology trends that are driving significant shifts in IT."

We are proud to have a Police Chief and staff who think outside the box and use ever more accessible technology to reach out to community members. This year, the Redwood City Police Department launched Netop's Live Guide communication technology. This revolutionary system allows community members to chat online with police department officers and staff. Citizens can log-in and ask legal questions, get to know their police officers, or make inquiries about tickets or violations they feel were issued erroneously. It is a transformative step in Police Department-Community relations.

Netop's CEO Kurt Bager issued this statement, "The innovative use of Netop's Live Guide communication technology by the Redwood City Police Department shows how committed they are to making their website a place for meaningful, real-time citizen engagement."  He also mentioned that by going live and being willing to chat with community members in real time, the department is, "setting a new standard for online service."

Netop is an organization based in Denmark. They offer the online chat service to public agencies for just $91 per month. The department is using the system on a 3-month basis. Community members can contact the department via live online chats between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Depending on community demand, the department will consider expanding the service into the weekends. The online chat service is run by officers who have been injured in the line of duty and have been removed from field for the time being.

Netop's Live Guide communication technology helps to cut down on service calls, allowing more officers to be out in the field where they can provide the most assistance and protection. Chief Gamez stresses the fact that this program is not a substitution for service calls. Redwood City police officers will always make house calls when the situation calls for it. It should be noted that the online chat service is not a substitution for 911 calls. If there is an emergency, citizens should call 911. The department's Online Reporting Service is still available as well.

Thank you Chief Gamez, and members of the Redwood City police department for working creatively to facilitate communication with our community.

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