Explorations in Policing, Faith and Life (With a hint of humor, product reviews, news and whatever catches my attention)

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Asset: Arrest, Search and Seizure Electronic Tool

The Asset: Arrest, Search and Seizure Electronic Tool was just brought to my attention.  It is a creation of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Government (first I have heard of them too).  I dropped it into my phone and I have to say I am impressed.  What this app delivers to the cell phone that is with me at all times, its equivalent in book form is filling half of my "go-bag".

Here is what I like:

1.  Portability-My reference material is stowed in my squad, which is usually far away from the call.  When a question of law arises and my backup is as befuddled as I am, someone has to stay behind while the other marches to the car and attempts to find the answer.  An Officer safety problem in all circumstances.  This app allows two of us to remain on scene to continue aiding each other.

2.  Liability-look at this app's name.  This is where you are going to get sued if you make the wrong call...just by having this on your person adds one more line to your due diligence law suit response section.

3.  Speed-this app's interface is simple and direct.  I can quibble with the long narrative sections once you hit the particular problem you are facing.  I have dropped similar long passages into my reports to justify my actions.  What I could recommend to improve this tool would be to bullet point, lets say duration with "Must be brief and accomplish only what you have suspicion of..." then click on that to get the full explication.  But this change would save, oh, about thirty seconds.

4.  Utilizing existing technology.     Most law enforcement tools are common everyday ware that is painted matte black and tripled charged.  This is using a smart phone 99% of us already have and making it useful for something other than killing time between traffic stops.

5.  It's free and not even a free trail edition.  My three years of no pay increases really make this a great feature.

6.  Updates.  I can not tell you how many times non-current information has risen up and bit me as a police officer.  Just last week I realized that they changed the statute numbers for retail theft...caught it just in time but had that gone to court it would not have been fatal but certainly embarrassing.  The stuff defense attorneys LOVE.

7.  Citations:  Peppered through they have the case law that led to the procedures that are in place.  There are reasons for everything even if the courts are just making them up as they go along.

The downside

Its primary focus is that state of North Carolina (no surprise there)...while there are many similarities, there are some differences I found that would not be the same for us here in the Midwest...since it would only require small changes here and there...I am hoping they have future plans for a state by state version.  When they do I certainly will be using it.

If this is what is coming from this UNC program I certainly applaud them for it and look forward to seeing what else they produce.

Links: UNC Asset App Link  I-Tunes Preview of ASSET: Arrest, Search, and Seizure Electronic Tool

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