April 2015 | SunGard Public Sector
Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Johns Creek, Ga. is a community that rarely deals with bad winter weather. Located just a few miles to the northeast of Atlanta, Johns Creek can go an entire winter without seeing snow and, when snow does fall, it tends to be minimal. But that changed in January 2014, when the entire Atlanta area was rattled by ice storms and heavy snow. Because of the storms, conditions in the area were challenging and Johns Creek was not immune.

“There are several major news organizations in the Atlanta area that covered the storm, and the conditions in the metro area,” said Lieutenant Jon Moses of the Johns Creek Police Department. “But there was no good way for Johns Creek residents to get real time information in reference to road closures and emergency services specifically relating to our city.”

To keep residents of Johns Creek apprised of the situation and make up for the lack of local news coverage, the local police department started centrally distributing information through its Facebook and Twitter accounts on a regular basis. If a section of the highway closed, if the power went down in a community, or if a free public shelter opened, more information would appear on the social channels as it became available.

“Our Facebook page literally became the front page for news in Johns Creek,” Lt. Moses said.

All of this was possible because the Johns Creek Police Department is one of the most innovative and forward-thinking public safety agencies in the country, particularly when it comes to social media and open data. Johns Creek Police Department is a customer of SunGard Public Sector and a user of SunGard Converge Police-to-Citizen (P2C), which allows the department to share public information with citizens in a central way and lets citizens search police records and download reports. The proprietary P2C system, called JCPD4Me, is interoperable with social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook, which means that citizens can get this information and interact with the police department through the platforms they already know.

The SunGard-hosted JCPD4Me system hasn’t only been useful during natural disasters like the winter storm. The department has instituted a “Wanted Wednesday” series where it posts the picture and biographic information of suspected criminals on all of the platforms connected to JCPD4Me. Just a few weeks ago, the department posted the picture, name and age of an individual wanted for abusing children. Moments after the information appeared on Facebook and Twitter, the department started getting dozens of inquiries from community residents and, within 24 hours, officers were able to make an arrest.

“JCPD4Me lets us engage with our community and establish better two-way communication,” said Lt. Moses. “We can start using these social channels for things like missing and dangerous persons, and crowd source information gathering to the public. It’s a more efficient use of our resources, and makes members of the community vital stakeholders in its protection, fostering trust.”

With hundreds of downloads in Johns Creek alone, JCPD4Me has been fairly well received both by the officers in the Johns Creek Police Department and the residents of the community.

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