EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Situation
  • Bourne, Massachusetts headquarters
  • Supports local law enforcement in 15 communities
  • 1,300 square miles of Cape Cod
Challenge
  • Overcome time and distance challenges in delivering more effective law enforcement
  • Make communications an asset to maintain high responsiveness and service for area residents
Solution
  • A Comcast Premium Ethernet Virtual Private Line hub and Ethernet Dedicated Internet serving three dispersed locations.
Results
  • Cut wasted time
  • Speed communications
  • Improve operations
Communications Lapses are Costly Liabilities for Effective Law Enforcement

Seconds can make the difference in successful law enforcement, so wasted time and communications lapses are detriments to operational performance and public safety. Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office, which helps 15 local villages and the Massachusetts Bureau of Criminal Investigations to protect over 1,300 square miles of Cape Cod, relied until recently on phone calls and hand-delivered communications to move information among its locations, including a jail, a Technical Support facility, its Dispatch bureau and its mobile units.

T1 lines were their principal connection, but in some areas of the county, their links were antiquated copper. With over 200,000 people to protect (and four times that in the summer season), the Sheriff’s Office had to find a better way.

Senior Network Administrator Joshua Straughn said, “We needed to link up our various satellite offices at greater than T1 speed, for all the applications we need to use. Locally, the provider was Comcast, so we talked with them about how Comcast Metro Ethernet might improve our point-to-point connections with greater bandwidth. That’s the way we went.”

Comcast Business Services Helps Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office Fulfill its Mission

Managing safety for such an extensive territory strained the old system until it couldn’t adequately support the efficiency of law enforcement operations. “The problem was obvious,” Joshua Straughn says. “We have a small team providing IT backup to about 400 users on our network – officers in the stations, on the road and at our Technical Support Division. We’d often have files or vital information that couldn’t be shared among our locations via our old Internet configuration, and so the material had to be hand-delivered. Even routine service calls and tech support had to be handled that way. That’s a lot of driving, a lot of man-hours spent lost in a process that ought to be fast and simple.”

Comcast Metro Ethernet provided the bandwidth the Sheriff’s Office needed to cut wasted time, speed communications and improve operations. Straughn appreciates the difference, both for the routine applications and the ones that directly affect the well-being of the community. “This bandwidth permits us to perform our IT maintenance from our office instead of going out to the field. It sounds like a small matter, but if you can fix a software glitch or a printer problem remotely instead of driving out to the site, it’s much faster and less expensive,” he says. “That makes better use of everyone’s time.”

In police work, the seemingly small operational details are the ones that make the critical ones work smoothly. “Putting the information where we need it quickly is sometimes the difference between preventing a crime or being too late,” Straughn affirms.” The distributed technology of law enforcement, such as portable computing devices, GPS and tracking systems, and in-vehicle communications, puts more demand on police communications. We can use our Comcast service to help monitor offenders wearing court-ordered tracking devices, and for rapidly identifying suspects; it lets us take part in MIDNET, the Massachusetts Inmate Data Network that ties correctional institutions statewide with our police cars. We’re more effective in task forces, criminal investigations, even special operations teams assisting the U.S.D.E.A. and local agencies – Comcast Metro Ethernet gets information to them on their phones, on their portable devices and in their vehicles.”

Comcast Business Services Helps Barnstable County Make Communications a Safety Asset

Cut wasted time
Barnstable County’s new connectivity has proven itself as a time-saving asset. “That’s the big win for me – supporting our users,” says Joshua Straughn. “It takes stress off the whole department when this network saves them time. They get more productivity and can focus more on their real jobs.”

Speed communications
Timely information delivered where it’s needed supports more effective policing – investigations at the scene, communications both internal and between departments, in stations and in the field. It’s an essential tool for rapid response, and it might even be helping prevent crime. “The alert comes in and it’s reliable,” Joshua Straughn says. “There’s no lag. The remote investigation officers we support benefit hugely from having the information they need faster. They can make data more of a law enforcement asset.”

Improve operations
Joshua Straughn says that his department can now work more effectively internally, and can collaborate more effectively with other agencies in the area. “Prior to this,” Straughn says, “users from agencies had to come here to monitor inmate records or offender records on the road because their remote connections are too fragile. We’re the data sharing hub for them and this allows them to share their data more efficiently, querying across our hub to each other for better and faster results.”

“We’re more effective in task forces, criminal investigations, even special operations teams assisting the U.S.D.E.A and local agencies – Comcast Metro Ethernet gets information to them on their phones, on their portable devices and in their vehicles.”

Joshua Straughn,
Sr. Network Administrator

Download this article as a PDF >

This will only take a moment...

Please Wait Processing