West Windsor patrolman Justin Insalaco was filing a report for a missing child in 2012 when he realized the system was ridiculously out of date.
“Paperwork takes time,” says Insalaco. “But getting the image out to the squad and other agencies immediately is more important.”
So Insalaco, now 27, came up with the idea for Guidant, a cell-phone app developed in coordination with security experts and Argonne, an Illinois-based research lab. Guidant facilitates instant sharing of crucial information among law-enforcement agencies, private security firms and the general public. Some 30 New Jersey precincts have been using the app since its introduction in 2013, as have police in Michigan, Illinois and Massachusetts.
With the app, police can disseminate descriptions and images of suspects; building floor plans for crime or pursuit locations; situational updates; and other crucial information.
“With Guidant you get everything immediately,” says Insalaco. “The pictures are out in an instant.”
Insalaco, a 2007 alum of Jackson Memorial High School in Jackson, says decentralization sometimes handicaps U.S. law enforcement. “It’s hard to believe, but Mexico is more connected than we are,” says Insalaco. “The police there know what’s happening in each town and can more effectively deal with what’s going on.”
Law-enforcement agencies in the United Kingdom and possibly Belgium are also looking to Guidant. “The reason the U.K. has Guidant and Belgium is talking to us is to combat extremism and to help with homeland security,” says Insalaco. “The appeal is obvious.”