Technology helps nab would-be burglar while crime is in progress, sheriff says

New technology helped the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) to catch a would-be car burglar over the weekend. The tool used in this case is called Prepared Live.

Sheriff Rick Staly says his office started using it a year ago, and these days will implement it most times when someone calls 911 about a crime in progress. Rather than getting a description of what’s happening and who’s suspected of the crime, dispatchers and deputies can see it for themselves.

"Frankly, it helps make the law enforcement officer safer because the dispatchers can see exactly what's going on and send help if they need it," said Sheriff Staly.

The platform’s creators say its uses are nearly infinite. Josh Keeler is a representative for Prepared Live.

"It expedites the investigation in the most crucial part of the investigation, which is getting that head start during it. And so that's been massive," said Keeler.

The version of Prepared FCSO is using is free. Other tiers offer further services for a fee. Those include language translation through text, including 440 different languages. Another version offers a live transcription of what’s happening during the call. That could come in handy if the dispatcher wants to refer back to the address or notes without having actually to write anything down. 

The highest tier uses artificial intelligence AI to pull insights directly from the audio. Keeler offered an example of how that would play out.


"Say the caller says an address or a suspect description or that there's a weapon on scene. AI recognizes that and automatically pulls it out and enables the dispatcher to copy and paste that with two clicks into what's called computer-aided dispatch, getting the information out faster to law enforcement so they know there's a weapon on the scene. They have a suspect description without a burden on the dispatcher of writing that down."

In FSCO’s recent case, the 911 caller could click a link to the dispatcher who texted them and livestream video into the emergency operations center. That way, when deputies arrived at the scene, they already knew what the alleged burglar looked like and where he was.

The suspect turned out to be a 12-year-old person who’d trespassed from the apartment complex before, the Sheriff’s Office says. Deputies say he was caught with a screwdriver, a mask, and gloves.
Sheriff Staly says this is what he calls "Guardian policing."

"It is where the community and law enforcement work together as guardians of their community," said Sheriff Staly. And this is a prime example of that working."

Sheriff Staly says his office has invested over $2 million in new tech over the past few years. Some of that is paid for through grants. Another new tool, called Rapid SOS, has been helping the Sheriff’s Office a lot recently, too.

It’s what the emergency communication center used when AT&T’s phone lines went down last week and back in January. Flagler County Sheriff’s Office Director of Communications Christina Mortimer says Rapid SOS lets dispatchers see where callers were dialing from, even if the call wouldn’t connect.

"Thankfully, we do have all that, the resources to be able to see where someone is calling from," said Mortimer. "But it definitely puts a little bit more pressure on, not knowing what we're sending our crews into." 

In Flagler County, you can also text 911, and the sheriff’s office is working to get new tech for its homeland security section to help investigate and prevent hate crimes. 

"What we're trying to do is really look at what will benefit our community the best and as most cost effective or return on investment, if you will," said Sheriff Staly. 

The sheriff has also been pushing to make sure the county continues funding deputies in schools. The commission says it can’t afford school resource officers. The Sheriff says pulling that funding would put kids at risk. There’s a meeting to discuss the county’s budget on Wednesday.