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May
17
2007
IACP Net — A Wide Range of Resources for Portsmouth, Virginia, Police Department

FROM THE NET WORKS NEWSLETTER, SPRING 2007, VOL. 23, NO. 2

  • IACP Net is absolutely the easiest way to find information that’s out there.
  • Captain Scott Burke
    Portsmouth, Virginia, Police Department

[Editors’ Note: Scott Burke has been promoted to the position of Captain of the Portsmouth Police Department since this article was written.]

For Lieutenant Scott Burke of the Portsmouth, Virginia, Police Department, IACP Net’s simplicity is a benefit matched only by its affordability and breadth. Home to the Naval Medical Center, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, and Coast Guard 5th Division Headquarters, Portsmouth (pop. 101,000) is a locale rich in national history. But the prevalence of federal land brings its own challenges to the Portsmouth Police Department. Noted Burke, “All of that federal land is completely off our tax rolls, so that dramatically impacts the city budget — and the department budget.”

IACP Net is Easy on the Pocketbook

In the face of tough budget challenges, Lieutenant Burke recommends IACP Net as an indispensable tool for policy writing and research. “It’s worth it. For a department my size, it’s $1,600 for the first three user IDs. That’s not a lot of money,” pointed out Burke. “We’re moving forward to purchase some new in-car cameras, and one camera system with a recorder is $4,700 to $5,000. So for far less than the cost of one in-car camera system, we get a year’s worth of access to IACP Net. Or, we’re paying $427 each for our Glocks. So for less than the cost of four handguns, we get a year’s worth of IACP Net.”

On IACP Net, It’s Simple to Search, Simple to Share

Burke and his colleagues definitely get their money’s worth. “From an end-user standpoint, IACP Net’s user interface is very friendly. It’s very simple to maneuver; the search function can be as generic or specific as you’d like,” said Lieutenant Burke. “For example, it’s no more difficult to request information through the Quest-ResponseSM Service than it is to send an email.”

Burke participates in IACP Net by responding to Quests and sending policies to IACP Net so other departments can benefit from them. “I’ll go into the Quest-Response network, and if I see something that applies, I’ll send something over,” said Burke. “Somebody had a Quest about crowd management during concerts, and we have an amphitheater next to City Hall. So, I sent the Quest over to our traffic unit and asked them to respond to the questioning department.”

IACP Net: For Knowledge Seekers Everywhere

Besides using the Quest-Response Service to research issues, Burke uses IACP Net for policy work and in-depth research. They’ve used IACP Net to research policies on visible tattoos, whether facial hair interferes with personal protective equipment and concerns about the safety and efficacy of TASER” device use. “Our greatest use of IACP Net has been a comparison of policies and documents from around the country that others submitted — drafts from other agencies,” said Burke. “Rather than reinventing all these policies from a void, we’re making significant use of IACP Net resources.”

For example, the Lieutenant was able to find a much-needed policy on deploying spike strips. “We are the only municipal agency in the Hampton Roads area that is using the Stinger® spike strips, other than the State Police,” said Burke. “So we didn’t really have any local resources to go looking at spike strip policies. We used IACP Net, got a policy, and within 10 days of deploying our Stinger strips, we actually had our first activation of the system. So it all came together because everything was able to be lined up and ready to go.”

Lieutenant Burke’s final words convey an enthusiasm for how easy it is to use IACP Net to connect to the international law enforcement community. “When you look for info on IACP Net, you’re asking your peers — they may be in Vancouver or California. IACP Net is absolutely the easiest way to find information that’s out there. By being able to use IACP Net to touch base with these other agencies, we’re saving our own research and development costs, and we’re getting a good bang for the buck. IACP Net is worth it.”