Technological innovations come faster every year, and public safety technology is no different. Keeping up with what’s available, as well as what you may want to implement, can be a challenge for even the most well-staffed agency.
There could be some reluctance involved, as well, both from supervisors and employees, simply because they’ve grown used to what they’re using. But when the safety of the public is involved, it’s important to move past that inertia and embrace new and faster ways of doing things. After all, it could mean more lives saved.
So what’s the key to advocating for new technology and making sure your staff is ready and willing to use it? Here are some strategies that might come in handy.
Have open, honest conversations about the new technology with your staff
The first step in this process doesn’t really involve the new tech you may have your eye on at all. It simply involves talking to your staff, co-workers, and supervisors about why you want to implement a new technology.
What are your ideas, and what are their reservations? What can you do to allay some of their concerns (whether those are around budget, downtime, training, etc.)? What issues do they have that you might not have considered? Do you have all the information you want to present to them ready? Are you prepared for the answers you might receive?
These are all important questions, and they can be answered only by talking to those around you in your agency.
Bring in your PIO
A Public Information Officer’s job is often to convey facts in the most palatable way possible for public or media consumption, so why not consult with them on the best way to break the ice in terms of bringing in new technology?
These are people who are trained in communication methods, and they already have a connection with the public safety staff you want to talk to. Your PIO can help you figure out the best way possible to present your case. Remember, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help or taking advantage of a crucial resource to get your point across.
Don’t skimp on training
How will the new technology you’re thinking about be best integrated into the existing programs at your agency? How can you ensure that a new employee can be trained in an efficient, thorough, and effective manner?
Training staff is going to be the most crucial part of bringing in the new tech you’re thinking about, so make sure you have a comprehensive plan going in.
Engage your partners
Are there any private or non-governmental partners your agency works with that need to be brought on board? How will the technology that you’re implementing affect the agencies you communicate with?
As cities and towns are moving more toward interconnectedness and the “smart city” model, it’s becoming increasingly important to look beyond just your department or agency, and focus on the big picture. Who else would be involved in helping to bring new technology into the existing framework of your agency?
And don’t be afraid to reach out to potential vendors. At KOVA, we consider it part of our job to help potential customers determine how public safety technology can help their organizations.
Advocacy for positive change is an important part of any person’s work, but it’s perhaps even more important in the field of public safety. Don’t give up on what you think might bring your agency into a new, better era.
For more on this topic, read our post “What’s Next for Public Safety Technology?”