By Denise Gee Peacock
At the 2022 National AATTAP-AIIC Symposium, Glendale (Arizona) Police Department Sergeant Patrick Beumler provided an array of CART-smart advice – from enlisting the right members, structuring teams within a single agency or statewide, countywide, or regional units, obtaining valuable resources, and maintaining and sustaining strong programs.
The CART coordination expert also posed some key questions for agencies that currently have a CART or are considering forming one.
- Does your team recruit, assign, or receive/onboard new CART talent? Can you recruit from various agency squads based on unique CART needs/individual talents?
- Do you solicit CART membership within your participating agencies? Sworn and non-sworn?
- What happens when a certified member promotes, retires, or changes assignment?
- Do you have a succession plan for replacing team members who have completed certification?
- Is your team comprised of only investigators?
- Do you have dedicated dispatchers familiar with CART? “Get your dispatchers certified in CART and include a rotation for them in your deployment plans,” Beumler emphasized.
- How often does your CART train? Annually/quarterly/monthly? Is it for initial certification only?
- Do you review case studies, tabletop exercises, and leads management techniques?
- Do CART members get cross-trained to work in different roles?
- Do you train for contingencies? Diverse environments? Multi-day deployments?
- Do you know what specialized deployment resources you have available? Professionals could include dive teams, K9 units, drone pilots, cell phone tower analysts, and interpreters.
- Can municipal, county, state, federal, and non-profit agencies fill resource gaps? “District and county attorney’s offices could be legal partners for search warrants and legal questions, and local victim advocacy centers could offer victim assistance.”
- Do you have, or can you create, a mobile command center to hold your logistics and communications equipment?
- Regarding equipment and supplies, does everything work (portable lighting, extension cords, printers, laptops, tools, spare bulbs, cords, repair kits, etc.)?
- Will you have access to a plotter-sized printer? Where can you get large neighborhood canvassing maps?
- How many folding tables, chairs, and canopies do you have? Who is responsible for maintaining those? “Keep a spreadsheet with all logistics equipment designated for deployments and get a list from an established CART to see what else you might need,” Beumler added.
- Do you have enough canvass forms to cover vast, urban apartment complexes?
- Will the agencies with whom you’ll be working use the same terminology, radio codes, and/or checklists? This needs to be proactively agreed upon via procedural documentation/resources.
- Do you have post-deployment debriefs with patrol officers, on-scene supervisors, and CART personnel to discuss what went well and what could be improved?
- How in tune are you with new technology? Beumler recommends:
- Group messaging apps such as Microsoft Teams and GroupMe to remotely share information with CART members in real-time. “You also can use the apps for private chats.”
- Leads management programs to help organize, categorize, assign, and track incoming leads, canvassing information, and investigative research.
- Develop the ability to apply/utilize geofencing with social media and other messaging. Know what technology affords you in terms of tracking cell phones, searching and capturing data via drones, and using license plate readers.
Promoting Awareness and Building Support for CART
- Explain the benefits of CART. Provide overviews and information at supervisor meetings, patrol briefings, and community meetings (and involve agency PIOs) to highlight the benefits of having a CART that other agencies can utilize or emulate.
- Celebrate your CART successes. Commend personnel for great work. “CART responsibilities are often secondary or volunteer roles for many CART personnel, so take the time to recognize those who stay engaged and put in the hard work and long hours,” Beumler said. “Many successes go unheralded because of humility. But the effectiveness of the CART concept should be praised to raise awareness and boost confidence in its utilization.”
- Travel and provide outreach. Travel to neighboring agencies and provide executive-level presentations on the benefits of joining a CART.
- Offer command post walk-throughs. Set up a mock command post and allow other agencies to visit and ask questions at different stations. This includes displaying/demonstrating equipment utilized for the program.
- Who will be your lead agency or coordinator in an expanded CART, and for how long? Yearly?
- How does an agency request CART assistance?
- Who authorizes deployments for an out of agency responses regarding overtime, vehicles, primary assignment coverage, etc.?
- Clearly articulate decision-making responsibilities and lines of communication.