Apex IRIS “Digital Roll Call” Features Help Minimize Virus Exposure and Optimize Communication

Date: July 20, 2020

Digital Roll Call LogoHow has your roll call changed since COVID hit?

Many public safety agencies are having to rethink how they communicate between shifts of employees and transmit essential roll call information without accidentally sharing a virus. Apex IRIS is now offering a collection of features, collectively called Digital Roll Call, designed to streamline and improve the roll call experience, turning a tricky situation into an opportunity to improve safety, communication, reduce waste, and more.

Before police officers, troopers, deputies, firefighters, EMTs, and correctional officers begin the start of their shifts, they must report to what’s called “Roll Call.” This critical meeting updates these public safety officials on what the shift before them experienced. Roll Call is typically done in-person and often includes handing out documents to provide further detail and for officers to reference later. 

Because COVID-19 has created a need to maintain a physical distance of six feet and be mindful of surfaces and objects being touched, conducting roll call meetings in a way that protects staff can be challenging. Often agencies employ just enough personnel to cover each shift, and if one employee was unknowingly infected with COVID-19 and exposed their coworkers to the virus, it would be difficult for many organizations to have enough staff coverage, for weeks to possibly months. This is because if a staff member exposed others to the COVID-19 virus during a roll call meeting, every employee for that shift–including any employee that came in contact with the infected official before their shift–will all need to be quarantined for approximately 13 days while being tested. If infected, then these public safety officials will remain in quarantine until they finally test negative by a COVID-19 certified medical facility. This could create a significant shortage of qualified staff members available to safely work, which could have a very negative effect on the agency’s ability to meet public safety needs.

The risks associated with a traditional roll call can be mitigated very efficiently using the Apex IRIS “Digital Roll Call” features. This group of features allows each public safety official the ability to access all of the roll call information digitally. The content is available through the app on their phones, at their fingertips at any time, and without the need for handing out paper documents or trying to meet in unusual locations to accommodate social distancing.

Government organizations can use the Digital Roll Call features to access daily shift turnover reports, daily crime stats, bulletins, active directories, agency message boards, agency updates, extra job boards, and whatever they may need to have customized.

One of the most exciting aspects of the Digital Roll Call feature is how it actually improves on the roll call experience. Each BOLO (“Be On the Lookout”) PDF that gets uploaded into the Apex IRIS mobile application can be tagged into categories like robbery, burglary, vehicle theft, etc., and the text in the PDFs is automatically indexed, making the documents searchable! For example, if a BOLO included the text “purple backpack” and an officer searched for all BOLO’s that included “purple backpack,” then that BOLO would appear in the search results–even if it was an older document, that if not digital, would likely have already been thrown away. This reduces waste and gives officers better, more efficient access to important information.

The Digital Roll Call features are just one of many helpful tools designed by Apex Mobile to enhance communication between law enforcement agencies and the public they serve. Apps integrate seamlessly into an agency’s community policing and engagement plan, enhancing communication efforts and making them more effective and efficient.