Located near the center of the state of Minnesota, the Brainerd Police Department protects a population of over 13,000 residents and growing residential and commercial development within 17 square miles (about half the size of Manhattan). The department fields a uniformed force of over 24 officers and several supporting staff that respond to nearly 19,000 calls a year.

The Brainerd Police Department first came across the First Arriving dashboard platforms after seeing one in use by the Brainerd Fire Department. “The fire department was using a First Arriving dashboard as a way to keep its paid-on-call members coming in and out informed and our chief thought that was a good idea for us to use it as well,” said Brainerd Police Department Lieutenant Mike Kulzer.

The digital dashboard platform that the Brainerd Police Department uses has integrations for email, Google Sheets, Google Slides, Outlook, traffic cameras, Facebook, Twitter, and the department website.

Announcements and news, as well as roll call items and important news from the previous shift are placed on Google Slides. The focus is to make the incoming shift aware of vital information. “A lot of community event stuff, reminders for patrol requests also go up. We recently did a birth announcement for one of our officers,” said Lieutenant Kulzer.

Kulzer said in the past all the department used to rely on for communication among officers and staff was email and a whiteboard in the patrol office. “This is definitely more eye-catching,” Kulzer said. “The Facebook and Twitter feeds, they don’t need any attention and they make you aware of things as soon as they happen.”

Brainerd’s dashboard also displays training expectations, the training agenda, and online certification reminders. The traffic camera integration gives Brainerd officers a real-time view of road conditions and weather. Monthly awards for community service or for investigations, as well as recognizing officers for actions that went above and beyond are also shown on the digital dashboard platform.

“It’s a very useful tool, and we’re happy with it,” said Kulzer. Getting the integrations you want the way you want makes it “virtually maintenance free.”

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