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New site will help law enforcement collaborate

BlueLine is more like the business-networking site LinkedIn than Facebook, Bratton Technologies says.

LOS ANGELES POLICE DEPARTMENT VIA REUTERS

BlueLine is more like the business-networking site LinkedIn than Facebook, Bratton Technologies says.

SAN FRANCISCO — A law enforcement social-media network designed exclusively for the men and women in blue is close to being launched.

Created by former Boston police commissioner and Los Angeles police chief Bill Bratton, BlueLine is a site on which officers can share expertise, insight, and information securely through video, instant messaging, videoconferencing, and screen-share capabilities.

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The network is scheduled to go live at the International Association of Police Chiefs’ annual conference in Philadelphia in late October, said Bratton, who is also a former New York City police commissioner.

Bratton, an international expert on reducing crime and improving police-community relations, said there has been a longstanding belief that federal, state, and local agencies work closely, especially since the Sept. 11 attacks.

That’s not entirely true, he said, adding that he hopes BlueLine will be another tool to help bridge the gap. Those who join will be accredited members of law enforcement. They will be able to create databases, have PowerPoint meetings, and search for other members via name, topics, and interests.

‘‘This is a big void that needed to be filled,’’ Bratton said. ‘‘Our intent is to have officers locate their counterparts and closely interact with each other on a number of topics, such as gangs and counterterrorism, as well as share their best practices and strategies.’’

Bratton is widely credited with co-creating Compstat, the innovative crime-mapping system used in New York, Los Angeles, and other cities. It uses computer data to direct police to specific high-crime areas.

Bill Bratton

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Bratton said BlueLine was conceived earlier this year and created by his New York venture capital-backed start-up, Bratton Technologies. He had for years heard that officers did not have a safe network to share information.

BlueLine is being beta-tested by 100 officers in California.

Initial reports have compared BlueLine to Facebook, but company officials say it will more closely resemble business-oriented sites like LinkedIn. BlueLine will also allow companies that sell products for law enforcement to market to the more than 17,000 agencies the network hopes to attract.

‘‘Our focus is to have a walled community where you’re verified and authenticated, so you have a safe form of communication,” said David Riker, Bratton Technologies’ president.

Security is extremely important, said Los Angeles Police Captain Sean Malinowski. ‘‘We’re already seeing a lot of potential with it,’’ he said. ‘‘This is not a traditional social-media site, even though you can share files, photos, and stuff. It’s really specific to the subject matter and expertise that officers want to divulge with each other.’’

Malinowski said most officers have safety and privacy concerns about social media. ‘‘They try not to be as traceable because there are threats made against officers all of the time,’’ he said.

BlueLine will require multiple verifications to join and enter the network.

BlueLine will not be a venue where law enforcement can share information about specific criminal cases.

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