Hughes provides L.A. County law enforcement agency with an advanced communications system.
Sheriff Lee Baca of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department believes in cutting-edge technology to help his deputies do their jobs. That’s why it’s no surprise that the largest sheriff’s department in the world is in the vanguard when it comes to implementing digital communications in a law enforcement agency.
Rapid, coordinated communications is critical in law enforcement. And when it’s for a large, mobile workforce—one that serves over 10 million residents within a 4,752 square-mile area—it presents a significant challenge. Conventional thinking and technologies wouldn’t provide the networking coverage and performance the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department was seeking to communicate with its diverse staff of 18,000 deputies and professional personnel.
So today, the department is in the process of installing the Hughes digital communications system—one of the first of its kind to be deployed by a law enforcement agency in the U.S. The department selected the Hughes digital signage system for its unique combination of digital signage, on-demand training, and internal communications in an affordable, all-in-one package. As part of the flexible Hughes solution, the county will be deploying video screens in high-traffic areas at 23 stations and 10 correctional facilities.
According to Sgt. Steve Strange, Administrative Services Division, “We needed a way to efficiently communicate key messages to our staff. What we got was a state-of-the-art system that does that and much more—conveying command information instantly, providing training that’s convenient for a staff constantly on the move, and serving as a digital message board to share our department philosophy as well as news and announcements.”
As a “digital newspaper,” the system will keep personnel informed and make this vast organization feel smaller and more intimate, publishing department-wide news, periodic messages from the Sheriff, and announcements about events like fundraisers or a downed officer’s memorial ride. But much more than a social tool, the system will provide critical information that helps officers do their jobs, such as crime bulletins, information about suspects, and push-pin maps targeting areas where crimes may have been committed. In addition to delivering department-wide content, local command staff at each station will be able to publish content that directly relates to that station or locale.
The system’s on-demand training capability will enable the department to provide training whenever it’s needed on a variety of topics, such as how to escort an inmate, or guidelines on conducting a high-speed pursuit. Eliminating the scheduling problems associated with classroom training, on-demand training also enables the department to track employee compliance of mandatory courses.
The Correctional Services Division employs the system’s digital signage in its processing center to orient new inmates, ensuring that they are informed of jail rules and the availability of medical and mental health services. “The Hughes system assists us with maintaining compliance of state regulations by displaying the length of time each inmate is in the processing center,” said Sgt. Scott Ponder, Correctional Innovative Technology Unit. “Looking forward, we plan to extend the digital signage to inmate housing areas for both information and entertainment.”
“We know that we’re just scratching the surface in leveraging this powerful system,” said Sgt. Rich Pena, Sheriff’s Headquarters Bureau. “Part of the beauty of the Hughes system is its ease of use and multi-purpose capabilities, which we plan to exploit in many other ways such as integrating our learning management system (LMS) and adding videoconferencing.”
It’s safe to say that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, led by Sheriff Baca and backed by cutting-edge technology like the Hughes digital communications system, will continue to lead the charge in helping law enforcement personnel stay well informed as they serve and protect their communities.