Cops Listening To 911 Calls In Real-Time And Geofencing Without A Warrant: A Deadly Combination

By Joe Cadillic

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Brookhaven Police Department has joined an ever-expanding list of police departments letting police officers listen to 911 calls in real-time.

On Thanksgiving night, Officer Quentin Brown was training a rookie inside his Brookhaven police patrol car at a shopping plaza when the voice of a 911 call taker emerged from the speakers asking, “What’s your emergency?”

Soon after, the officer said he heard another voice, but this time it was an out-of-breath man, yelling, “My car!”

Brown, who was sitting in the passenger seat at Northeast Plaza, looked at his computer screen, which showed the caller was at a gas station less than 500 feet away. “I told the person I was training, ‘Just go, go, go!’” Brown said, assuming the call was related to a vehicle theft.

When a police officer listens to a 911 call in real-time do you think that the officer will use their discernment or fall back on their training when responding to a call?

When Brookhaven police officer Brown heard a 911 call in real-time, he acknowledged telling a fellow officer to fall back on their training and “just go, go, go!”

Officer Brown’s response to the 911 call revealed another issue about letting officers hear emergency calls in real-time.

Brown stressed the importance of hearing a caller’s voice to understand their tone and gain a more complete picture of the situation. He called the software a “game changer” for the department.

“You almost feel naked without it because you lose all that,” Brown said.

911 call centers have trained personnel designed to evaluate all emergency calls, unlike a police officer who relies on their training to instantly evaluate everyone at the scene of a 911 call while arriving in a heightened state of readiness (guns drawn or taser at the ready.)

The reasons why police officers shouldn’t listen to 911 calls in real-time are many, but the main reason is they simply aren’t trained to handle emergency calls while keeping their emotions in check.

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The news is littered with police officers responding to 911 calls and overreacting to Black people.

Police officers have tased, beaten or killed Black people for minor infractions or because a person felt threatened by a Black person’s helpful actions, or simply because police officers didn’t like Black people dating white women.

According to the Denise Amber Lee Foundation (DALF), 911 call center dispatchers undergo classroom training on “how to answer emergency calls in a live environment and must receive supplemental training that will enable them to process the emergency calls that are specific to their respective PSAP or Emergency Services Provider.”

A police officer listening to 911 calls in real-time doesn’t have the time to question a caller[s] to determine what type of aid they might need or whether a caller is biased and simply wants police to harrass, question or arrest people of color.

As DALF points out, “a 911 telecommunicator should be acutely aware that every action taken could be scrutinized within a court of law, as well as by the community served,” which is not typically something an officer needs to worry about.

A police officer having listened to 911 calls in real-time and arriving on scene in a heightened state of readiness doesn’t need to worry about how their actions might affect people in the community.

Another thing to consider is 911 call dispatchers are trained in “interpersonal communications” something police officers have not been trained in.

The techniques used by the telecommunicator could prove to be the difference between a favorable outcome and a disaster. This section should focus heavily on the knowledge, skills, and abilities that every telecommunicator should have in their toolbox when assisting with a variety of incidents. It is not sufficient to train only on the skill sets needed for call taking and inquiry, such as listening, hearing, diction, and perception, but also might involve additional topics related to race, age, nationality, and speech and hearing impairments.

911 dispatchers are trained to ascertain the type of call and determine if they need an ambulance, fire truck or any number of other reasons people call 911.

A police officer, on the other hand, is trained to respond to an emergency call with little information as to the type of call they might be responding to and the physical address. Sometimes responding officers are given vague descriptions of a suspicious person[s] that can have disastrous affects on people of color.

911 call dispatchers are also trained in processing 911 hang-up and open-line calls, as well as TDD/TTY challenges; ascertaining proper information, location, and call nature or type; escalating incidents, such as domestic violence, active shooter, or suicidal subjects; specialty callers, such as children, elderly, and mentally or emotionally challenged persons; callers that are communications-impaired, such as individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities; and high-risk incidents, such as just-occurred or in-progress calls, crisis notifications, changing prioritization, AMBER alerts, etc.

Police departments using Live911 now have the ability to let police officers locate and ID a caller[s] cellphone in real-time using geofencing.

Advanced technology allows officers in the field to listen to emergency calls from their vehicles in real time and immediately identify precise location of the caller.

Live911’s “How It Works” section shows how they use warrantless geofencing to ID a caller[s] and locate their current location in real-time.

When a 911 call comes in, Live911 sends it out simultaneously to first responders in the field. Officers hear it as it is happening, much like scanning other radio frequencies. They can pre-set a geofence radius, so they only hear the calls near their current location.

It is important to note, that Live911 works with RapidSOS to locate a caller’s current location.

HigherGround partners with RapidSOS to determine the GPS location and map view of incoming calls. The integration allows Live911 to provide first responders with the precise location and any profile information associated with the caller and gives dispatchers an overview of their officers’ locations in relation to the 911 caller.

Police can use companies like Live911 and RapidSOS to sidestep the Fourth Amendment.

As John and Nisha Rutherford from the Rutherford Institute explained,

Indeed, empowered by advances in surveillance technology and emboldened by rapidly expanding public-private partnerships between law enforcement, the Intelligence Community, and the private sector, police have become particularly adept at sidestepping the Fourth Amendment.

A key feature of the surveillance state is the cooperative relationship between the private sector and the government. The private sector’s role is vital to the surveillance both practically and legally. The private sector, of course, provides the infrastructure and tools for the surveillance… The private sector is also critical to the surveillance state’s legality. Under the third-party doctrine, the Fourth Amendment is not implicated when the government acquires information that people provide to corporations…

The fact that police officers are able to use private companies to geofence a city block or a one-mile radius without a warrant is frightening.

Collecting everyone’s cell phones in an area while collecting their text messages and individual cellphone IP addresses under the pretense of an emergency 911 call will have disastrous effects on everyone’s privacy.

What is to stop an undercover police officer monitoring a BLM protest, a police abuse protest or an abortion rights protest from calling in a fake 911 call and IDing everyone’s phones without a warrant?

The danger of letting police officers hear 911 calls in real-time and giving a private company the ability to geofence entire city blocks or square miles without a warrant will further erode what little privacy we have left.

Source: Substack/Politically Incorrect News

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