DIG IT AWARD FINALIST: MOBILE
Tracking weapons without wasting officers' time
- By Sara Friedman
- Oct 13, 2017
For security and accountability reasons, law enforcement agencies must keep close tabs on their weapons and body armor. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is spearheading an effort to bring a nine-year-old web-based system onto a mobile platform to make it easier for agents to do that during their normal activities.
“The push for accountability in government assets is an additional duty for officers, so we are using the benefits of mobility to drain away some of the office time needed for inventory to allow them to do this in the field,” Paul Hester, an analyst in ICE’s Office of Training and Tactical Programs, told GCN. “The mobile app will allow them to verify the use of their equipment on the range rather having to do it twice by going into the office again.”
The Firearms, Armor and Credentials Tracking System (FACTS) maintains a log of serial numbers for equipment used in the field and during training exercises. In addition, Customs and Border Protection uses FACTS to keep track of high-risk assets such as firearms, ammunition, badges and credentials. Over 300,000 assets were tracked in FACTS based on an annual inventory taken in 2016.
ICE conducted the first test of the FACTS mobile app at a firing range in Fort Benning, Ga., in May. CBP has some input on the testing and programming of the app, while ICE’s field experiments are sorting out the kinks to make the mobile system ready for full deployment by the end of the year.
Both agencies want to use the mobile version to keep track of assets during training exercises.
“When a supervisor brings people in for training, it can take 15 to 20 minutes to register serial numbers,” Hester said. “The app will help them save time by scanning the assets individually while instruction is underway.”
Sara Friedman is a reporter/producer for GCN, covering cloud, cybersecurity and a wide range of other public-sector IT topics.
Before joining GCN, Friedman was a reporter for Gambling Compliance, where she covered state issues related to casinos, lotteries and fantasy sports. She has also written for Communications Daily and Washington Internet Daily on state telecom and cloud computing. Friedman is a graduate of Ithaca College, where she studied journalism, politics and international communications.
Friedman can be contacted at [email protected] or follow her on Twitter @SaraEFriedman.
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