Disaster negotiation platform places extra energy in police’s palms

September 20, 2023by Naomi Cramer

Sponsored by LETS Corp.

By John Erich, Police1 BrandFocus Employees

The issue: Suboptimal choices for coping with barricaded topics

The LETS Respond platform is now used in 47 states and three countries and has recently been adopted by parts of the U.S. military and the government of New Zealand.

The LETS Reply platform is now utilized in 47 states and three international locations and has not too long ago been adopted by elements of the U.S. army and the federal government of New Zealand. (Getty Photographs)

Barricaded topics might be irritating for police for a number of causes. For one, officers are usually unable to place eyes on such conditions and sometimes unable to speak with these behind them – be they violent criminals or simply people in disaster.

Until they’ll set up some type of communication hyperlink, police have little skill to influence these folkss frame of mind and little probability to speak them right into a peaceable decision. And their pressure choices are sometimes restricted as nicely. These elements all contribute to scenes which can be inherently dynamic, anxious and unpredictable. 

One historic resolution to the issue of dialoguing with such people has been throw telephones. When conditions allow, tactical groups might create a gap within the barricaded construction and toss a telephone in a particular case inside. If the topic picks the telephone up, this permits negotiators to speak to them.

This technique has some drawbacks, nevertheless. Traditionally groups have used corded telephones for this objective. That each restricted how far negotiators may very well be from their topic and, for violent varieties and others who would possibly disrupt a scene, offered an unwelcome visible clue about the place police had been staged: the twine main again to them. Such telephones additionally arent usually carried, which suggests if ones wanted, somebody should retrieve one and produce it to the scene – a prolonged course of in such tense conditions.

For an company like ours, brokers are unfold out all through the state, so we dont essentially reply to an workplace, nor do now we have autos that carry all our negotiation tools,” mentioned Lauren Powell, a particular agent with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) whos been a part of its negotiation groups since 2011 and have become a workforce chief in 2021. We must have an agent drive out of their approach to go choose up this large, cumbersome tools in a automobile and take it to the scene. That took further time and was simply not useful. And as heavy because the tools was, it may very well be logistically laborious for some brokers to get it of their autos.”

Cell telephones characterize an enchancment in some ways: Theres no twine main again to officers’ location, and recipients could also be extra more likely to choose up a easy cellular phone than a wired older mannequin in an enormous, suspicious field. However they carry new issues too, certainly one of which is permitting contact with exterior events that may inflame a state of affairs.

Within the outdated days, landline telephone service and energy to a barricade scene may very well be reduce, leaving the throw telephone as the topics solely communication outlet. Common cell telephones cant be equally constrained. They let topics speak to family, confederates and others who won’t be useful to the aim of de-escalation.

When she turned a workforce chief with SBI, Powell wished a greater reply.

I noticed a necessity for some up to date tools, slightly than the cumbersome packing containers and huge coils and the entire setup, to maintain up with the instances,” she mentioned. Most suspects dont need to take giant packing containers. Theyd slightly use a cellular phone, and our youthful folks perceive the cellular phone and the way it works. So the primary focus I had was to analysis new tools and discover a resolution with extra performance for our workforce.”

The answer: Highly effective software program and an optionally available throw telephone

The reply Powell discovered, the Reply platform from LETS Corp., isnt actually a few telephone, though it could possibly include one. Its actually about progressive software program that gives police groups larger management over the negotiation course of.

The Reply platform serves 4 major functions:

  • It lets negotiators report and ship voice and textual content messages to topics, together with third-party statements, from police customers’ telephones and computer systems to any telephone utilized by the recipient; and lets a number of workforce members take heed to negotiations and talk amongst themselves with out the suspect listening to.
  • An optionally available throw telephone comes with LETS Corp.’s Lockdown app, which limits it to speaking and texting with negotiators.
  • It gives distant entry to and management of throw telephones as soon as deployed, together with microphone and digicam management to realize perception into the scene.
  • It requires no particular {hardware}, making it cost-effective and straightforward to implement and use.

Respond communications need not even wait for a negotiator to get started: Any officer with the app on their phone can call a subject and initiate contact. 

Reply communications needn’t even look ahead to a negotiator to get began: Any officer with the app on their telephone can name a topic and provoke contact.  (LETS Corp.)

Given the constraints of outdated corded telephones, that final merchandise is particularly essential. Reply communications needn’t even look ahead to a negotiator to get began: Any officer with the app on their telephone can name a topic and provoke contact, then simply flip management over to specialised colleagues as soon as they arrive and even earlier than.

The power to report and play third-party statements for topics is a novel new advance. This lets groups get useful messages from family members to these in disaster, slightly than permitting conversations they’llt management. These might be recorded stay on scenes, if such people are current, or through name in the event that theyre not.

Thats usually folks like spouses, relations and associates. It lets us get a voice in there who will help calm issues down,” mentioned LETS Corp. Chief Know-how Officer Ben Fitzgerald. We are able to deliver these folks in stay on the decision, however a canned, prerecorded message is one thing officers have much more management over.”

Different key attributes of LETS Reply embrace the rewinding of calls to evaluate the final 30 seconds and permitting a coach or secondary negotiator to speak to the principle negotiator with out the suspects data. The platforms throw telephone is constructed to army specs for sturdiness and comes with AT&T FirstNet connectivity for instances of congestion and areas of poor protection.

The LETS Reply platform is now utilized in 47 states and three international locations and has not too long ago been adopted by elements of the U.S. army and the federal government of New Zealand.

The outcomes: A safer and speedier decision

As a statewide company, North Carolinas SBI doesnt face a lot of barricade/negotiation conditions – Powell estimates it sees seven or eight such calls in a busy yr. So its brokers throughout the state have had restricted alternative to make use of the Reply platform within the two years theyve had it. Even so, its paid dividends. In a single occasion brokers turned to Reply and its throw telephone within the case of a suicidal suspect barricaded within the cab of a semi who was making an attempt to impress officers into capturing him.

The person had tried to take a hostage, however theyd gotten away, precipitating the standoff. He had a long-range rifle. Native police had been already on scene when SBI personnel arrived. Primarily based on how all people was positioned,” Powell recalled, the tactical a part of the state of affairs wasnt precisely in favor of regulation enforcement.”

They used a robotic to ship a throw telephone to the steps exterior the cab door. Agitated by the robotic, the person wouldnt open the door and take it, however Powell was in a position to make use of the telephones digicam and microphone to watch issues from a secure distance. Had he exited the cab, police would have recognized with out being in hurts means.

It might have been good to see him take the telephone so I may manipulate the digicam,” Powell mentioned, however a minimum of we knew the digicam may work at a spread the place we didnt truly should see him open the door.” The person was in the end taken into custody, and nobody was damage.

Thats certainly one of two SBI instances within the final yr that concerned the Reply throw telephone. Its way more frequent, Powell mentioned, that brokers use the platform to speak with suspects with out that factor.

Our deployments actually havent proven all of the platforms capabilities but as a result of we solely have so many per yr,” she added, however the performance and ease of use of the product actually make issues simpler. After were not fumbling with cords and wires and video, we are able to actually focus on our coaching as negotiators and listening to the individual and inspiring them to return out peacefully.

Theres nothing worse than being on scene and having to be involved about tools failure, slightly than doing all your job. The LETS product makes it simpler to focus on our major accountability, which is speaking and listening, slightly than coping with the tools.”


You dont should be a negotiator or a part of a disaster workforce to search out worth in LETS Reply. As veteran officers nicely know, mundane calls with regular responses – intoxicated topics, home disputes, and so on. – can escalate unpredictably, turning even the rawest rookie into the first-on-scene at one thing large. LETS Reply helps such officers get an preliminary deal with on the state of affairs whilst theyre ready for reinforcements.

Activating the system mechanically notifies the remainder of the on-call negotiation workforce. The designated negotiator can then take over even earlier than arriving on the scene. That’s a characteristic distinctive to us – its very highly effective,” mentioned Fitzgerald.

Powell additionally notes the systems safe chain of custody for communications which can be more likely to function proof. Case communications are simply grouped for administrative evaluate and uploaded into information techniques.

When brokers simply used their cell telephones to barter, we’d not have any report of that, until it got here by on a textual content. At instances we needed to take footage of it,” she mentioned. This enables the agent to have the whole lot captured go instantly into the system and proper into their file as a everlasting report inside the cloud.”

For extra info, go to LETS Corp.

READ NEXT: What when you may use a cell app to enhance disaster negotiations?

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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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