Online Command System

Online Command System Main

The Online Command System is an online incident organization IE Whiteboard system, to organize critical incidents by the way of the internet, accessible by any user with appropriate credentials, and viewable on any device. The purpose was to share real time data with all persons at a critical incident and to present the idea using open source software meaning the software is free of charge.

Warning: We do not claim to have any expert knowledge in law enforcement, especially involving critical incident management, SWAT experience, or Hostage Negotiator experience. The story and this complete idea is just from a road officer with a little programming knowledge, and open source software available.

Check Out Our Demo

Feel free to check out an online demo of the software. We have used public figures as an example in a fictitious manner. You will immediately notice all of the features listed below. You will not be able to post update, comments, documents, or manipulate the Google Maps.

User Name: demo
Password: demo

Online Command System Demo

The Story

The story about why this concept and free software was made. Prior to my law enforcement career, I took some classes in electronics technology which forever made me look at the world in the eyes of making life easier either by using electronics and computers. So when I would view things I would always put computers, software, and electronics to work.

Command BoardA long time ago, there was a critical incident I was a part of. This was in progress and live, when I was a rookie patrol officer. My sergeant arrived on scene and with the biggest command presence, swooped into his police vehicle trunk and got this square folded bag. I only had inner perimeter at the time but could see everything that was going on.

The sergeant opened the bag / large folded case on the hood of his patrol vehicle and out came a bunch of white boards. It just so happened the incident was a barricaded subject with a couple of hostages. I thought this was the coolest thing that there was a command system which organized and listed on white boards a list of Hostages, Subjects, Weapons, Etc………

Online Command Board

During the course of the incident, I would observe numerous command staff continuously look over the shoulder of the sergeant, and ask questions because they either could not read the hand writing of the supervisor, or there were to many people (SWAT, Negotiators, Etc…) crowding around the sergeant to see what was on the board. Oh, by the way at night there was no light so every one had to have flash lights on the whiteboard. Further more, I was like who hand writes anything anymore. Even in elementary schools, they have electronic white board projectors which are computerized. Even more so, I saw constant radio clutter by SWAT team members, especially snipers, asking for updates about subject descriptions, floor plans, and other critical information about the incident. This was not their fault as they needed this information. And don’t get me wrong, there are definitely things that need to be broadcast on the radio. Then the sergeant whipped out a large map of the city and started marking on it, where unit positions were. I thought to myself, it was over two decades ago I actually used a paper map. Who uses paper maps? What happens when a unit is moved or relieved? What about Google Maps? Oh by the way, the sergeant left his engine running and everyone was inhaling the fumes. Then I realized this was the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen being in the computer age.

After this incident, I felt there had to be an easy solution due to the power of the internet and web servers. On subsequent training events, it was obvious all members of the SWAT team had smart phones so I thought outside of the box and when intel was learned, a subject was identified, floor plan was located, or other information where a photo would be beneficial, I would take a photo of the intelligence and send this via text message to the SWAT team members.  Other SWAT team members would take photos and send them to the same chat group via MMS messaging. After numerous training using this method, I knew there was an easier way.

One of the biggest problems managing a critical incident is the nagging administrators who crowd the white board, and interfere with negotiations, TAC operations, and more. Most high ranking administrators have no involvement in the actual incident or hostage negotiation and just want to know what is going on. Know they can just log in, and view what is going on as the scribe or other user is updating the command system and posting real time data of the hostage negotiation.

That’s where the power of a web server and WordPress comes in. I knew a web server had so many features including:

  • Viewable by anyone connected to the internet
  • Cost effective (Most of the time the software is free)
  • Email capabilities
  • User roles and security (view, edit, admin)
  • Viewable on all devices including mobile
  • Google Map functionality
  • Timeline, Category, and Tag functionality
  • And so much more!

Using the power of the internet, a LAMP (Linux/Apache/MySQL/PHP) stack, and WordPress, I created the Online Command System. The system is based on open source software which is heavily supported and most of all free. Using free WordPress Themes, WordPress Plugins, that is how this system was built. Don’t like open source software? WordPress is currently used by nearly 75 million websites worldwide. It is a great blog platform with support of themes, plugins, and user management.

Online Command System Features

The Online Command System is feature packed and extremely low cost, if not free. List the features:

Viewable on all devices

The Online Command System if HTML5 & CSS 3 based, and is viewable on all devices including Mobile, Tablet, and Desktop. This means all persons involved in the critical incident can view & post content to the Online Command system.

Online Real Time Information

Once something is posted to the Online Command System, it is available live. The end user viewing the system auto refreshes every 30 – 60 seconds keeping their view fresh.

Notifications

The Online Command System can be set up to alert all users via email or text message of an update including the content of the update.

TimersOnline Timers

Posted on every page of the Online Command System  is customization timers letting everyone know time limits set by its users. An example would be a demand made for food. A timer can be set up so everyone knows when the demand due. Another timer example could be how longerthe critical incident or hostage negotiation is going on for.

Online Chat

With the click of a button, chat can be entered into the system with is live for everyone with access to the system to view. This could be from the command, SWAT, TAC, Negotiators, or even dispatch if new information is discovered.Chat

Google Maps

This is one of the main and coolest features of the Online Command System by far. As mentioned in the scenario which led to the development of this system, using old school maps. Furthermore, what white board system has a mapping system. Are you going to draw it. most importantly, where are your assets during the hostage situation? Quickly created and allocate map pins using a Google Maps plugin. There is even an option to enable on members smart phones GPS location data which automatically posts to the Online Command System, their location. Use our free map pins to establish outer and inter perimeters, location of the command center, negotiators, assets, TAC team, and more. Your imagination is your limitation.

Online Command Maps

User Management System

With the power of WordPress user management system, you can allow certain types of access to the system, limiting access to information, and updating ability depending on user roles you assign.

 

Important News Ticker

TickerWe know there is certain information during a critical which involves the safety of the personnel involved. This should be the utmost priority and you have the ability to post these critical updates which display up top of the Online Command System in red.

Sticky NotesSticky Notes

Want to make a note about something in your incident or hostage situation? Simply post a Sticky Note which appears on every page of the Online Command System. You can post criminal history, weapons, or even photos.

Floor plans, Photos, & Files

What? You found a floor plan or file that is important to a subject, locations, or even a hostage? You can attached

Bidirectional Communication

This will blow your mind. Imagine a system where you can broadcast that you have discovered through investigative resources the subject has a AK-47. You post it and everyone gets an alert. The login and see this information. Then a patrol officer on the outer perimeter not even directly involved views this information when they login and to what is going on and has had personal contact with the same subject and has information to provide. They could call the Captain in charge of the old school white board and have it posted but good luck getting him to answer as the chief of police is on the phone with him wanting to know what is going on. Couldn’t the patrol officer on outer perimeter just log into the command system, post a comment of what he knows about he subject which is immediately viewed by everyone on the system? Even more, can’t the Chief of Police just log in to see what is going on instead of bugging the Captain’s ear as he needs to be available to make critical decisions? We made a simple schematic on how the system works in a typical hostage or barricaded subject scenario.

OCS Chart

 

There is so much more that this system can do and did we mentioned it is free?

Would you like a copy of the software ? Simply Contact Us.

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