Kevin Angell, CEO
What would a person typically do when s/he sees a stranger loitering in their neighborhood? Or witnesses a robbery in the middle of a dark alley? Or even hears gunshots from the door next? Their response could be one of two things—fight or flight! They either try to get help by dialing 911 or do anything get out of the situation or ignore it altogether. The latter pertains to a sad reality we live in. People tend not to care enough (or are afraid) to help as much as they lack the means to do so quickly and anonymously. The best way to empower the extended citizen borne “eyes and ears” of law enforcement is by bridging the communication gap between the two parties involved using sophisticated technology. Not only would it enable citizens to take the right step forward by reporting observations of suspicious activities to law enforcement, but it will also enable trained officers to take immediate action, without wasting any time. Facilitating this notion in the most practical and easiest ways is Crowdsourced Geofencing Solutions (CGS).
CGS was founded by Kevin Angell on a simple notion to empower our community with cutting-edge technologies that can help increase communication and transparency between law enforcement and the general public—and, subsequently, solve crimes. As a retired law enforcement officer who worked as an Internet Crimes Against Children Detective, four years as a Port Security Specialist assigned to Port Security Unit 307 (St Pete, FL) during Operating Iraqi Freedom, and four years as a government consultant on Body-Worn Cameras and use of sUAS in law enforcement, Angell had witnessed several high profile cases across the nation. He knew there had to be a better way for citizens to report them and for law enforcement to take the required action. With his law enforcement technology experience and a Master’s Degree in the Administration of Justice and Security with several Forensic and CJIS-level certifications, Angell developed a ‘Citizen Empowerment’ app in 2017 to increase communication between law enforcement and the community.
Empowering Citizens to “See it, Say it, Send it”
The idea was to develop robust software that notifies citizens of potential hazards and creates an easier method of capturing and reporting suspicious and criminal activity. In fact, during its development, the 2017 Las Vegas Massacre took place in Nevada. The press, law enforcement, and investigative agencies continued to impress upon citizens the need to “See something, Say something” as a way to prevent future attacks. The national campaign led to Angell aptly naming his app as the “See it, Say it, Send it app.” However, at the time, the app was still in the making.
Fast forward a year. Roughly 24 hours after the 2018’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting, Angell, who lived around 210 miles away in Sarasota, FL, knew that it was time.
We want to be a good shepherd of resources for the law enforcement, and on a grander scale, the citizens of the country
He did not want to wait another day longer to watch an incident of such magnitude. And so, he finally launched the See it, Say it, Send it app under the company name “Crowdsourced Geofencing Solutions.”
The company was his way to ensure that such carnage would never occur again. At its core, CGS leverages crowdsourcing data and geofencing to gather evidence and digital media with defined locations from smart device users of all ages. Working on the same principle, the See it, Say it, Send it app allows law enforcement to send Geofenced messages about current or past suspicious activity, be proactive in warning about potential criminal activity and alert the community of missing or endangered persons. The community empowerment side of the app allows users to capture images, video, or audio of suspicious activity and autonomously send it to the closest law enforcement agency.
To ensure that the information is legit and save time for law enforcement offers, the app gives an integrity rating to all the information shared. Using a proprietary and now patented algorithm dubbed TAVE or Tip Analytics and Validation Engine, CGS reviews every tip submitted through the app for no less than ten aspects related to its potential validity. Some of the scrutiny comes from the tipster proximity to the incident they are reporting and extend to a review of their previously submitted tips. Today, The See it, Say it, Send it app is used 25 states across the country. Seeing its success, CGS even started offering this app to school districts as well.
However, for Angell, The See it, Say it, Send it app” was just a way to break into the market. What he and his team had in mind was much larger. For instance, CGS offered a white-labeled software that integrates to body-worn cameras, which also took the market by storm. “Law enforcement officers probably record 20-30 incidents every day. Under no circumstance should they forget what had occurred in those incidents. So, our app helps them tag incidents and add notes to it. Our goal here is simple, we want to be a good shepherd of resources for the law enforcement, and on a grander scale, the citizens of the country,” prides Angell.
The Much-Needed Step towards a Better Criminal Justice System
On a more recent note, CGS is working toward building another revolutionary application called the “The Tap Out Now” that focuses on Criminal Justice Reform.
The mobile app allows law enforcement to track the behavior of nonviolent misdemeanor offenders who meet the criteria to be released from jail until their hearing. Powered by cutting edge technologies like facial recognition and geofencing, the app prompts users to check-in, tracks their location, offers them reminders on meetings or court dates, and ensures that they are nowhere near any place that the law prohibits them from visiting.
On the one hand, the app helps save the taxpayers’ money by keeping such offenders out of jail. It removes the need for an ankle bracelet or a probation officer and keeps the law enforcement informed about the alleged offender’s whereabouts. If the user breaks any law or chooses to leave the device at home or deletes it, CGS immediately alerts the respected officers to take further action. On the other hand, for the users who truly which to change themselves and ache for a second chance at life or have been innocent the whole time, the app allows them to get back into society with none of the embarrassment.
Our goal is simple and clear! We aim to develop technology and platforms to solve challenges, connect people and simplify life. That’s what we have done so far and that’s exactly what we envision doing down the line
In the real world, the “The Tap Out Now” app works in a very simple and straightforward manner—from onboarding to servicing. For instance, when a person arrested for a nonviolent misdemeanor is released, they go through a face-to-face onboarding process with one of CGS’s counselors. The alleged convict is informed about the application, how they can use it and how it works, and subsequently, it’s installed on their personal mobile device. From that point on, CGS maintains a journal on the person’s behavior based on their activities. On the day they are presented to a judge, CGS—via the law enforcement—provides a detailed report which highlights everything they need to understand about the person and make a decision on setting them free or continuing the probation or sentencing them to jail.
The product is currently being tested in three jurisdictions in central Florida, with 30 participants per jurisdiction. The company is working on making the product as user friendly and intuitive as possible, ensuring a seamless user experience for both parties involved. Once it’s ready, Angell envisions launching it nationwide. “Our goal is simple and clear! We aim to develop technology and platforms to solve challenges, connect people and simplify life. That’s what we have done so far and that’s exactly what we envision doing down the line,” concludes Angell.