The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership

TCD Podcast: Rahul Sidhu, Spidr Tech - Ep44

October 18, 2021 Rahul Sidhu Season 2 Episode 44
The CopDoc Podcast: Aiming for Excellence in Leadership
TCD Podcast: Rahul Sidhu, Spidr Tech - Ep44
Show Notes Transcript

Rahul Sidhu is a graduate of the University of Pittsburg. He studied Emergency Medicine and was a paramedic and flight medic.  Moving to California,  He attended the Orange County Police Academy, and served as a police officer for the Redondo Beach, CA Police Department.  Rahul began a few businesses to bring technology innovations to policing, now extending to other public safety, courts and prosecutor's offices, and public sector agencies.  He has married his passions and love for public safety with the use of technology and AI to benefit ageiceis.    

[00:00:02.120] - Intro

Welcome to the Cop Doc Podcast. This podcast explores police leadership issues and innovative ideas. The Cop Doc shares thoughts and ideas as he talks with leaders in policing communities, academia and other government agencies. And now please join Dr. Steve Morreale and industry thought leaders as they share their insights and experience on The Cop Doc Podcast.


[00:00:33.880] - Steve Morreale

 Hello again, everybody. Once again, it's Steve Morreale coming to you from Boston. This is the Cop Dock Podcast, and we have another opportunity to speak by coastal here on the East Coast and talking to a colleague on the West Coast aside. And he is the President, the CEO, actually of Spider Tech, former police officer. Still a reserve. He tells me he's right now in Arizona. Hello there, Doc.


[00:00:57.090] - Rahul Sidhu

How are you? Thanks for having me on.


[00:00:58.790] - Steve Morreale

Glad to have you tell us your story. You're a guy who came from Pitt who went to the other side of the country, the left coast from the right coast of the left coast and became a police officer at Redondo Beach. You lasted doing that for a while. You're still doing it on the side. But I guess Tech was in your blood. Talk about it.


[00:01:16.320] - Rahul Sidhu

Yeah. So I had two paths growing up. Public safety side was one about now, 1011 years ago, a little more than that. Twelve years ago, I started as an EMT on the West Coast, so in Los Angeles and then became a paramedic, said the emergency medicine. The University of Pittsburgh did the whole thing. Crew chief started going down that flight medic path and decided I wanted to give something else a shot. And it's a longer story, but ended up diving into policing and came back to the West Coast.


[00:01:40.140] - Rahul Sidhu

Los Angeles. Like you said Redondo Beach. He became a police officer there for a short period of time, full time and then left and started Spider Tech. And I'm still reserved now at Redondo Beach PD. So, same job, different schedule. I get to come in and go and make an effort and help out in the same way that I did previously. But on the other side, I was also in tech.



So I mean, I was just one of those kids. I was always on the computer growing up, had a little try to build a video game when I was in my teens.


[00:02:06.440] - Rahul Sidhu

Had a little startup in high school, paid my way through College from there, started working on public safety apps, one in College that allowed paramedics to send EKGs directly from their smartphones, this is like ten years ago. So before, it was easy to do that so we could kind of reduce the time it takes to treat a heart attack in the field. Then, like I said, married the love for those things. and six years ago, seven years ago with Spider Tech.


[00:02:28.620] - Steve Morreale

So clearly one of the things that I think, there's so many listening. So we've got people who are academics. We have people who are police Chiefs from all over the world and not only police thief but police executives and officers and people who are interested, students who are interested. But you, I would assume, are much more of a digital native than I am. And if that's the case, and so many police Chiefs are far from digital natives. And so how do you allay the fears that this can be done?


[00:02:52.610] - Steve Morreale

AI can help you. The computing can help you. And I know. And I'll explain to the audience. And one of the things that I understand that you're doing is actually something that police do not do routinely. It's CRM. It's done in the business, customer relationship management. And it seems to me that you're thinking or you have said, this is a very positive thing for police to do. We're not very good. And I'll give you my two cents, but we're not very good at keeping in touch with the people that we serve. After the fact.


[00:03:21.030] - Steve Morreale

We come, we write the report, we move on to the next one, and we never get back to people most of the time. Usually they have to chase us for reports to talk to. Who was the officer who came? I'm seeing you shake your head. Am I on track?


[00:03:33.200] - Rahul Sidhu

Yeah, I know you are. The way I look at it is take a step back on the specifics and we think about it in a different industry. So customer service, obviously, our job as cops, customer service has a big part of it. If we do it a little bit differently. And if you were to, however, buy something from Amazon or the Internet, you're going to get that email same day it says, hey, here all the items we bought. Click here to track your order. You're gonna keep getting messages, when they ship when it's delivered. And then you get a survey at the end of it, where they try to measure how you feel about the product, how you feel about the service provided, and they use that data to better inform all the decision making.


[00:04:06.150] - Rahul Sidhu

The have to do it an operational level. And that is what the modern consumer comes to expect. If they're buying a toothbrush on Amazon or they're ordering a pizza on the Domino's app, or they're waiting for their car, an Uber, that level of transparency and customer service communication. Our main goal there was to basically meet that consumer expectation when it comes to being a customer of public safety policing, it to start. And that was the kind of North Star from a mission standpoint. And the way we did it is very similar from a technology standpoint.


[00:04:34.740] - Rahul Sidhu

Like you said, we're using tech to basically automatically send these text messages and emails and mobile friendly surveys directly to nine DEA one callers and crime victims and general anybody who interacts with the police. And by doing that, we're not just saving these departments a tremendous amount of money. We're not just making their operations more efficient. We're not just reducing the likelihood that they're going to get complaints, but we're also giving them valuable data that can help them reduce liabilities. Right now. One of the things I say is if you were to ask a police chief 10 - 20 years ago, what is the performance metric that you believe would get you fired if it went really poorly?


[00:05:06.440] - Rahul Sidhu

Or would keep your job safe? They went really well. If you ask them 1020 years ago, they would tell you it's crime rates. Now they're going to tell you it's public perception. And most of these departments don't measure public perception in any meaningful way. They're just subjected to the anecdotes and people who are yelling at city Council meetings every time they come in. And that is not a good way to measure your successes or your failures. So what we've ultimately done is not only provide this build this customer service infrastructure, we've also given them the ability to measure public sentiment at the level that we think is most the interaction based level.


[00:05:38.160] - Rahul Sidhu

Yes. When I got hired as a police officer, my chief had told me, hey, what you have here is a bank of goodwill with the community. That's what we have as a Department. And every time you go out there and have a posit interaction, you're making a deposit in that bank. And every time you have a bad one, you make a withdrawal. And no matter what we do one day, we might have a big withdrawal, and we have to hope we have enough of that bank to cash that check.


[00:05:56.940] - Rahul Sidhu

So we thought, okay, interactions are essentially ground zero for every improvement and decline in public perception. How do we optimize them? And how do we miss?


[00:06:03.870] - Steve Morreale

So a couple of things that I'm thinking is with the change in what the expectations of new Chiefs are. Chiefs that they've been around for a long time. It is evidence-based policing and data-driven management. So you're talking about data, which I think is important. What troubles me, having been around policing for an awful long time myself and still doing consulting and training. And such is the reticence, the reluctance of police departments in many cases to dare to ask, how are we doing? Like they have a fear that someone's going to say that 90% of the people say, we think you're all complete assholes.


[00:06:34.460] - Steve Morreale

Not only am I not sure I'm sure or that's not the case, but without knowing, without asking, without being detailed about how did we do? How did they treat you? Did you feel respected? Did you feel like they showed some compassion or that they took the report in a timely manner, all of these kinds of questions. And then there's things that you can fix. You started to say, public perception.


[00:06:56.640] - Steve Morreale

Wow. I mean, that's the most important thing, but I'll have to say, and you've been a police officer yourself. And that is, at first California or Boston. At first, police will say, I am not in a customer service business. And yet you damn well are because they're the people who vote on your raises on more police officers, on more equipment. And we are service-driven. So what's your reaction to that?


[00:07:18.360] - Rahul Sidhu

Yeah. Look, you could break apart the word customer service into customer and service. Of course, all cops are gonna say, of course. Yeah, service. I'm protecting and serving service. Public service? Yes. I agree with the word service when they start having hangups is the word customer because they feel like, well, this person is not paying me technically directly. So, I mean, are they really, of course, they're get your customers held at hostage. You got to pay the taxes no matter what you do. And you got to hope that the services that you get are basically worth the fact that you're a resident there.


[00:07:45.450] - Rahul Sidhu

And so, of course, you're gonna be a customer of the departments. And if you're asking directly for service, if I'm calling nine one or if I'm a victim of crime, sometimes you're a customer. If you're not asking for servers, if I get pulled over, I'm driving down the Street, I get pulled over because I'm going too fast. Well, my taxes paid for the fact that I'm trying to ensure that my community has appropriate traffic enforcement so we can keep our streets safe out. Today, I get to be a customer of that service.


[00:08:08.640] - Rahul Sidhu

So, yes, it is still customer service. Regardless, the whole feel good aspect of it. That's where cops, I think, have the hangup is I'm not supposed to be that person in retail or in the food industry that's getting yelled at because their eggs were showed up too cold or the price was too high. I get it that's the customer service people think of. But that's not the only way that customers get served around the world, and they just got to kind of break that frame of reference.


[00:08:30.470] - Rahul Sidhu

Ultimately, we are responsible for providing good service, and it doesn't hurt to be nice every once in a while.


[00:08:34.740] - Steve Morreale

Well, making friends is one of the things we saying all of the time because 90% of the people are not against you. Yes, there is a group of people who do not like police disdain police don't want to deal with police, don't want to call police, but so many others, sort of the silent majority. I think those are the people that you want to know are we are we meeting your needs? And, of course, the other thing in my mind as well. I want to understand. First of all, I'm not looking for the price point, but is this an expensive proposition for a police agency?


[00:08:59.450] - Rahul Sidhu

No, it's not. Ultimately, we try to do is ensure that every dollar you spend on Spider tech, you're saving at seven to ten X some other fashion. Whether that's the fact that dispatchers are previously having to call people back if an officer and showed up in 20 minutes. And now the system does it automatically. So you have dispatch your time back, whether you're saving manpower hours or you're more efficiently being able to allocate resources elsewhere because you're reducing patrol time or because you're reducing liability or big complaints or the big one a liability cost of having a major issue, a major issue that results in riots not only in your city but around the country by preventing something like that from happening.


[00:09:33.330] - Rahul Sidhu

I mean, you're saving a tremendous amount of time heartache can potentially even lie live. So in those circumstances, when you think about it that way, we're trying to push seven to ten X to dollar saved on what you spend.


[00:09:42.470] - Steve Morreale

So in reading about the company and how it's grown over time and where you are utilizing or what departments are utilizing this particular service, it seems like your new bio. You're still trying to grab some traction. And for the people listening and the people I have talked to about who I'm going to talk to you, Spider saying, wow, that's amazing. Well, yes, it's amazing. And that's what we're trying to do is trying to bring some innovative ideas, because it seems to me, you know, you've shown up at calls, and the first thing is that people are pissed at you.


[00:10:13.290] - Steve Morreale

You don't know why they pissed at you. They pissed at you because they called 40 minutes ago. And you don't seem to think that my call is important. They don't understand where you just came from. And if there isn't a mechanism to say he's on the way now, right? That calms me down. Otherwise, I so many times I remember hearing calls and somebody would be out there. And 27 headquarters, one signed off there. And about 1510 minutes later, 27 headquarters. I'll being root with one complaining.


[00:10:40.470] - Steve Morreale

And you'd hear that. And you think they arrested the complainant? Well, yeah, because they were all pissy and they got up in their face. And whatever. These are things that have happened over and over again in this country and are unnecessary. I see you shake your head. I can see you in video. So what's your reaction to that?


[00:10:54.920] - Rahul Sidhu

Look, a couple things. So as far as Spider Tech goes, we've been doing this now for about six years. We've got roughly 60 different police departments across the country of all different shapes inside. So we've got the smaller ones of 2030 y, 40, 5000 cops. We've got larger cities like San Antonio Police Department, for example, Tucson Police Department in Arizona. We've got county sheriffs, we've got local municipality police departments. We've got University of California education. We're all across the gamut. We're in 14 different States in Canada. So it's not just one region.


[00:11:23.610] - Rahul Sidhu

Some people ask me, oh, is this where politically things might be more Liberal or more conservative? No, we're in Texas. We're in Arizona, we're in Florida, we're also in California, Washington. We're in a bunch of different places. So it is truly this service is one size fits all in the sense of what it provides, folks. But your point is well taken in the sense that in any of these places, you're gonna have the same issue. You might go to a place where you have a lot of support for police, but one day somebody calls and they have to wait like you said, 2030 minutes and they're not gonna be able to separate the fact that they have to wait from the fact that there's nothing you could have done to get there sooner.


[00:11:55.050] - Rahul Sidhu

You were on a hot call with a burglary in progress and you left as quickly as you could to come to where you are. And you aren't just sitting around eating doughnuts and eating lunch and waiting until they felt like I've got nothing to do. I may as well go help this person in those circumstances. Meeting are explaining expectations is the name of the game.


[00:12:11.070] - Steve Morreale



[00:12:11.250] - Rahul Sidhu

What I mean by that is if I were to buy something online and I was told on the acknowledgement, click submit my order. The item is gonna be shipped on Thursday. I'm probably not gonna call on Wednesday and ask for my item is I'm not gonna be upset that my items out there on Wednesday because expectations have been set exactly. If I'm not told that my item is gonna be shipped on Thursday, then Tuesday, Wednesday rolls around. I'm gonna go, where is that thing? And I'm gonna start calling and asking and I might now become upset about something I wouldn't e otherwise become upset about had the proper communication been laid out for me.


[00:12:39.840] - Rahul Sidhu

And a lot of the time all comes down to is acknowledging what the customer wants, explaining what the expectations should be, and then just apologizing if there's a delay in keeping them informed along the way, I'm gonna get annoyed if I'm standing in the same spot for an hour waiting for a cop when I could have just gone to the station 15 minutes and completed by report and I'd be back on my way 45 minutes earlier.


[00:12:59.760] - Steve Morreale

Or excuse me for interrupting, you're on the side of the road, but


[00:13:03.870] - Rahul Sidhu

Go grab a coffee


[00:13:05.310] - Steve Morreale

Exactly. It's a coffee place X next door. Just rest there and come on back in the 15 minutes. I mean, we do that with everyone. Well, you know, I mean, we expect we expect that if it's the cable people, if it's Verizon those kinds of things, we tell you here's the window and they have worked to shrink that window from remember, it used to be a whole day to 4 hours now to 2 hours. And so why aren't please doing that?


[00:13:25.530] - Rahul Sidhu

You know, I talked to cops about that. I say, do you remember what it was like to get your internet set up and your internet service provider said, yeah, look, we'll be there on Tuesday from the hours of 09:00 a.m. To 05:00 p.m. And just hold it for us, and we'll be right there. And here I yeah, it's all those assholes. It's so frustrating. I can't believe imagine that. Imagine not just for cable, but something that you deem is really important. The other thing about our customer, Steve, is that they might be going through what they consider to be the worst day of their lives, something that's so terrible.


[00:13:49.830] - Rahul Sidhu

And it's so much more meaningful for them to get better service in that circumstance. What if they bought something on Amazon? So just meeting that basic consumer expectation is a big deal.


[00:13:59.000] - Steve Morreale

Well, this is a little novel in many places, but I'm absolutely concerned that only no offense intended, but the only 60 agencies would want that. I look at it this way. What I mean by that is you look at CALEA, right? It is basically the National Commission for Accrediting Law Enforcement. And there may be 500-600 out of 17,000. And you think, well, why? Why? What is the problem? So my question is, how do we make people understand that this could be of great value? It sounds like you're starting to do that.


[00:14:26.970] - Steve Morreale

I talked to a colleague and I have a couple of questions, and what he said is, oh, my God. I love this idea. Former New York guy and does a lot of consulting. And what he was saying was that I love to use the balanced scorecard, a balanced scorecard for policing rather than for business. But then we have to wonder, what do we measure so from that the questions that I wrote here is, is this scalable your program and do I, as the police chief or the command staff, have the ability to modify the question set for the survey?


[00:14:57.750] - Rahul Sidhu

Yes, to both. So the system is completely configurable. I might have said one size fits all in terms of what the value provides. But it's not one size fits all based on how you want the system to work. One Department might say, hey, I want to send text messages, every call for service, and I want to send it immediately. Some other Department might say, hey, I don't want to send it to high calls, like domestic violence calls or anything like this. And I want to send it.


[00:15:18.660] - Rahul Sidhu

Maybe after the officers left, I don't necessarily want to send it right. When the call goes in this survey, some department's going to ask purely customer service service. How do this officer treat you? Do you trust our Department? How do you feel about this? And they're going to just basically measure sentiment. Some departments might also ask intelligence based service. Hey, is there anything in your neighborhood that's bothering you that you want us to know about? Do you lock your doors night? Questions that they can be tactically, make decisions.


[00:15:39.960] - Rahul Sidhu

And most departments will ask a hybrid of both. Some departments will keep three or four questions the same year round and change other questions some departments will ask, hey, do you want to join our volunteer program? If you do, type your email in so they can reach out to people? Some departments will use a survey to opt in, like San Antonio police to opt into larger agency communications that we will also send out on their behalf so they can cut out the media and the middleman and communicate directly with people who have said, I want to receive alerts directly from the police Department.


[00:16:04.920] - Rahul Sidhu

So departments can use this in a very variety of ways. We are simply a vessel that they can configure to automatically communicate with the people they interact with and their community members at large. When you're asking, how is this only 60 apartments? This is a standard issue. Growth isn't an issue, but it's challenge with any enterprise, offers a service company, regardless of what it's for.


[00:16:24.060] - Steve Morreale

You have to get your footing.


[00:16:25.020] - Rahul Sidhu

You get your footing and the way it works. And I'll tell you how it worked for us. And it would work for every public safety company I would start in the future is first you get a handful of early adopter. That was Grover Beach, a small Department in California. Less than 20 cops, thief Peters out there. Great guy gave us a shot and said, yeah, let's see if it works. And then our first large agency right off the bat was Tucson, Arizona. We've been working with them for four years.


[00:16:44.430] - Steve Morreale

Chris, Chris is the chief for a while. Yes, I know him.


[00:16:47.310] - Rahul Sidhu

Yep. And my guy there, Chief Eric xxxx, one of my favorite people all the time. So they helped us. They said, yeah, deploy it. And we didn't charge them in the beginning. We just wanted to get it started with a Tyler, right. We want to prove it. And then after that, our first paid agency was my Department. We're Redondo Beach PD in California. Chief Keith Kaufman. Very innovative, very forward thinking guy and said, yeah, let's take a shot on this first paid Department. And ever since then, that first year of growth was a couple agencies.


[00:17:10.680] - Rahul Sidhu

And the next year growth went from a couple agencies to about twelve, which was early last year. And now we went from twelve to roughly 60 in about a year.


[00:17:19.020] - Steve Morreale

I can see.


[00:17:20.670] - Rahul Sidhu

Yeah, the growth becomes parabolic over time. And really, the name of the game here is exposure because I've been to over 100 different agencies across the United States. But now, at this level, 200, 300. I've been traveling around the United States, meeting with departments and Chiefs across the US. And I know lots similarities. I notice some differences. One thing I'll tell you is regardless of what the circumstances are, I've never sat in a meeting at the end of it. The chief goes, this is pointless. Or I don't agree with the value here.


[00:17:45.300] - Rahul Sidhu

Every time the Chiefs or the captains, whoever I'm meeting with will understand the value, they will believe it's a good program. And it comes down to whether the timing is right for them, whether they have the resources to adopt this from a financial standpoint, where the human resources to implement a very easy and quick to implement. But they have fears of previous technology products, et cetera. And so that changes the timing. We'll meet with somebody, and then two years later, they, hey, we finally got the money or we finally got this and we're ready to buy it and they'll buy it.


[00:18:10.200] - Steve Morreale

Yeah, that's a damn shame. And public government or public funds are so hard to come by, and it takes a while. So that closing the deal is not like in regular business, and sometimes it has a much longer life. Who engineers this? In other words, I bring you in and I say, okay, this is terrific. So tell me what modules I have. What kind of information do you need from me? How do we make this happen? Is this linked to social media?


[00:18:33.530] - Rahul Sidhu

It's not directly linked to social media or major focus here is that the system itself is a closed system. It works really well because it's not taking in information from people. Aside from the surveys, every survey we get is based on an interaction. You can tie it back to that interaction. It's not just anybody can say anything. I remember in the beginning, departments were wary of connecting any social media because they don't want another thing to have to pay attention to it's. Like when a Department has a Twitter or Facebook or Instagram, and now people are instead of calling.


[00:19:00.810] - Rahul Sidhu

I want their reporting crimes by direct messaging, you on Twitter and now you've got to pay attention that and set an expectation. So we try to get generally avoid that. I don't know.


[00:19:08.000] - Steve Morreale

So, it must be tied into CAD.


[00:19:09.380] - Rahul Sidhu

Yeah, it integrates directly with the records management and your CAD system.


[00:19:13.010] - Steve Morreale



[00:19:13.290] - Rahul Sidhu

And in some cases, your case management to automatically do this. So one thing I tell people is it's a set it and forget a system. You can set it up and nobody has to do anything differently. Your dispatchers, your officers, nobody has to put anything in the system works completely by itself. And we have departments that test that out. They'll turn it on. And then for 30 days, they won't log on. And then 30 days later, they'll notice all these surveys, all these things. I mean, that's the whole point of it.


[00:19:34.050] - Rahul Sidhu

It's automatic. But the other piece of this is that implementation, our entire customer success Department, basically account managers. We assigned to accounts to hit the implementation running and make sure everything's running smoothly for the life of the account. They're all X cops. They're all cops. In fact, from our customers from Tucson PD, from Madison PD, who've set the program up at their agencies and then come to Spider Tech to do that. Now, travel around the country and do that worldwide with what they've learned at their Department.


[00:19:58.080] - Steve Morreale

So they're speaking. They're speaking the language of the agency.


[00:20:00.990] - Rahul Sidhu

They speak the language, and they also know they'll sit down there. Okay. What do you want to accomplish?


[00:20:04.830] - Rahul Sidhu

And they're okay. This is how I'd recommend you say, add it up, and they'll make sure that it's working over time. Six months, three months later, they'll go, hey, I noticed this could be better. Why don't we change this? And the departments are leaning on us as a resource to know how to best implement and then how to best use the surveys and make changes. So we've set up law enforcement expertise at the company to do so.


[00:20:21.870] - Steve Morreale

Well, this is very intriguing to me. And don't really see why this isn't catching on more. It seems to me that it's an extremely smart thing. Well, first of all, the questions that you've talked about before, I want to reach out to my citizenry. And one of the things Ings that when we finally have a contact. One of the things I want to do is to remind them, would you like to know more about the police Department volunteering is one or would you like to come and be a participant in a Citizen Police Academy?


[00:20:47.730] - Steve Morreale

Those kinds of things? And so why don't you talk a little bit about that survey? And I think that's really important. Just generally, what kinds of questions are being asked of me? I call you. Let's put myself in it. I just called you because I had an accident or I came home and I found something was missing or something was damaged. And the police officer comes out, takes the report, and off we go. Maybe the person hands me a card. Maybe not. I live in a small town. I know all of the cops, but what happens from that point? Or what can happen?


[00:21:14.520] - Rahul Sidhu

Yeah, let's start from the beginning. So you call 901, you hang up the phone, and this is again, the Department can configure this, so they don't have to send all these messages. They can put whatever they want on them and send it to whoever they want. But let's say I configure it. So the moment I hang up the phone, nine one, I'm gonna get a text that says, hey, thank you for calling. Going so police Department at this date and time you called about this. Here's your call for service number.


[00:21:33.240] - Rahul Sidhu

Here's what to expect next. Maybe it's a burger. So they're gonna say, hey, sure. You itemize everything that was stolen. If you have any receipts, don't try not to touch anything but take photographs or whatever, getting them ready for the call. So the officer spends less time there. Now, let's say it's been 20 minutes. The officers not marked themselves on scene in the cat. Well, maybe it'll send a text that says, hey, we apologize to delay. If you would rather complete this report online or on the phone, click here and we can put you over.


[00:21:55.320] - Rahul Sidhu

And then all of a sudden, now you're moving towards something else or you can wait and we'll be there as quickly as we can. That's gonna save patrol time. I can't tell you how many times I've driven across the city to get to a hit and run, only to find out RPS no longer there. And we just sent the message saying, you need to cancel and they click the button to cancel. The officer wouldn't have to go over there and you'd save patrol time. So that's the next piece step.


[00:22:13.950] - Rahul Sidhu

Then let's say the officer leaves, maybe fills out a Port thing in the survey saying, hey, how did you feel about th service? We provided the officer to spoke with you, et cetera, et cetera. That feedback immediately goes back to the Department when the officer goes and submits a report in the RMS. Hey, here's everything you need to know. Here's your report number. Here's what to expect, whatever else you wanna put on there. Hey, if you wanna join our like I said, that neighborhood watch program for your area, this is your neighborhood watch captain.


[00:22:34.500] - Rahul Sidhu

Here's your victim advocate, whatever it is you want and put into these messages. And then as the investigation continues, so updates and configure. If in my case management system, I have X update, I want to notify them automatically or prepare a Detective detectives been assign. They're gonna contact you here. The questions are gonna ask how this information ready all the way until the end of the case. Your case is closed, depending further evidence. Here's what it takes to reopen it or nearest has been made. And here's what you need to know about the court information or the case was submitted to the DA or the DA rejected the case. Whatever the circumstances, you can automatically send that if you configure it to do so. And now we're working with the district attorneys. So San Diego District Attorney is our first district attorney that is now gonna use the same process throughout the court system. So that's basically the way it works from the beginning to the end.


[00:23:16.070] - Steve Morreale

Thank you, because I love chatting about this. This is pretty exciting, and I'm hoping that people who will listen to this will wake up and smell the roses and realize that this could be a very, very, very valuable piece. Communication is so key, like you said in the beginning. But what I want to know is how do you gather that information? And this is what I mean by that? I show up at the scene on the the officer. I have to ask a couple of questions. I asked the pedigree questions.


[00:23:40.170] - Steve Morreale

You name your date of birth, all of that kind of stuff I presume. I'm asking, would you mind giving us your cell phone number? Do you have an email address? I mean, these are two things I never asked for when I was in uniform. But is this part of the request because it seems to me it triggers that's the only way you could trigger texting me or emailing me.


[00:23:56.780] - Rahul Sidhu

Well, okay. So the phone number is easy. Over 90% of the people I call now on are calling from a cell phone, so we can automatically text a cell phone that calls as if it's the reporting party without the dispatcher necessary. Fly asking for the cell phone again, of course, no one's gonna go through their protocols, and sometimes it might confirm the phone number. But that part is simple. It's email. Yes, you do have to ask a victim for their email to get an email. But the phone number, which is, I would say, over 95% of their communication or via text message.


[00:24:21.600] - Steve Morreale



[00:24:21.870] - Rahul Sidhu

It's done automatically. Doesn't require anyone to do anything differently. It's the officer saying if they're not already collecting an email, a lot of departments are already collect emails, but collecting email the crime report level, then that's what's gonna happen. But we're never sending an email to an on call. Those always gonna be text message.


[00:24:34.920] - Steve Morreale

That's great. And that clears it up or me, because it seems to me and understanding this old guy who is not a digital native


[00:24:41.560] - Rahul Sidhu



[00:24:42.740] - Steve Morreale

OK seasoned, seasoned. But I use text, but it's usually very, very short burst. I see people texting me, and I know your colleagues like they'll send you. It's the equivalent of email by text. Like, how the hell do you do that? But I do appreciate that. That's great. So let's change the subject a little bit.


[00:24:56.700] - Steve Morreale

One of the things that you said that I read about you is that at one point in time, you were a program manager for unmanned air support. Is that a drone program?


[00:25:04.940] - Rahul Sidhu

Yeah. Yes. You heard of DFR or drone as first responder? No.


[00:25:09.210] - Steve Morreale

Talk to me, enlighten me!



So one of the customers is Chula Vista Police Department.


[00:25:11.370] - Rahul Sidhu

Yeah. It's really, really interesting. One of the customers that we work with is Chulavista Police Department. They were the first Department in the country to set up what's called the DFR program. What DFR means is Drones First Responder. Essentially, they have their drones set up on a rooftop, and they semi-autonomously fly those drones directly to nine one calls as they come out in the cat. So if a call comes out for a theft in progress, the drone will fly a mile out from the station or wherever they're set up immediately to that call for service.


[00:25:37.950] - Rahul Sidhu

And that video footage goes to all the officers on their mobile phones, the dispatchers. And this is the interesting thing is there's an officer sitting at the station using a mouse and keyboard, basically flying the drone from a computer so that they can essentially, it's like a video game for them. They can operate in the same way the interesting thing is essentially, I'm not saying this is replacing helicopters. The technology is not there yet, but it is essentially replacing it for 80 90% of what you would wish you could use it for if helicopters were not expensive and we're more flexible.


[00:26:07.440] - Rahul Sidhu

So it's essentially accomplishing the same mission. You're getting that overhead air support and infrared and 4K video and whatever you want. Zooming in 180 X from the sky. You're getting that same air support, but you're getting it for cheaper, for faster greener, safer. And you can do it for lower threshold because it's all those things. You can basically send it for your petty theft without only sending it for high crime in progress. So anyway, so that's what I saw actual Visa was doing. The agency is working for as a reserve.


[00:26:30.870] - Rahul Sidhu

Basically, they can do me and said, hey, we want to spin this up. We had another reserve who's really good at drones. They're smart guy, operates a company called Flying Line. You should check them out. And together we basically put together this program as a second agency in the country to do it at Redondo Beach PD with a couple of modifications. We basically set it up so that the drones are flying from the hospital, all obviously following FA guidelines and basically going directly to these calls in the city as they come out.


[00:26:53.250] - Rahul Sidhu

We've been doing that now for over a year, and now we're working with we're providing that service to other cities, not just our Department, but local cities, so we can send drones to them as well. It's really interesting. We did a piece on that in New York Times about it a few months ago. The future for sure.


[00:27:07.170] - Steve Morreale

Oh, my goodness. You're absolutely right. And that's fascinating stuff. And of course, as a police officer heading to the scene, maybe it's a bank robbery. Maybe it's a burglary in progress or the report of that and getting that video feed to know where to approach the scene? That's pretty darn important. Wow. That's just amazing stuff. Well, you're on the forefront of technology, for sure. And yet what frustrates you? What frustrates you as you walk into a Department and you get the supposed buy in, but they don't pull the trigger.


[00:27:35.370] - Rahul Sidhu

I mean, a lot of that comes down to. I'll tell you this in the beginning, Steve, it was the hesitancy you'd expect this is new. We don't want to take a risk on a new thing. We started five or six years ago. It was after Ferguson, but it wasn't. People thought at this whole new wave of policing, my blow over people didn't feel like they had to really make an impact like this. And people weren't really connecting a dot. Then I type the next stage. We have a few agencies, maybe a dozen or so.


[00:27:58.920] - Rahul Sidhu

People are going, okay, I get this. I do think this would be beneficial, but am I willing to put my money in this when I got to put it elsewhere, that's where the decision come into play. Now, obviously, in the last year, it is much easier. I would say departments are seeking us out - referrals. That's a big thing. We have customers are happy. It's really difficult for us to lose a customer and for these departments to go to all these other customers. So you got to buy this.


[00:28:20.640] - Rahul Sidhu

And now the customers are coming in and we're selling some of the weeks, maybe a couple of months, tops. We're seeing the tides have shifted, so I would say it's still frustrating when departments don't have the money to do it because


[00:28:30.540] - Steve Morreale

Have a desire, but not the money.


[00:28:32.360] - Rahul Sidhu

Yeah. And because we believe it is going to save the money in the departments themselves believe I save the money. It can be a little frustrating to have resources be an issue for why we can't provide modern customer service. And at the interaction level, the accountability and transparency communities are asking for from the departments we're trying to help get there, but the communities, in some cases, the funding allocated, that can be a little frustrating for not just me, but the Chiefs themselves believe it's a Slam dunk and get somewhere.


[00:28:56.550] - Steve Morreale

The community wants to get it's within their reach, but they can't pull the trigger just yet. I understand the site, and clearly you do, too. And that is okay. You're coming to me in July. Damn. I wish you were here in May. A our money is already tied up. Maybe next July, we'll put it in as we go through our budget process. So I understand that. Well, we're coming down on time, but there's a couple of questions I want to ask you what is on your personal to do list.


[00:29:16.760] - Rahul Sidhu

My personal to do list. Wow. I mean, this is referencing what I want to do personally, with policing or just everything.


[00:29:21.900] - Steve Morreale

Anything that comes to mind. What is it you want to accomplish? In other words, you have a list. I got to deal with that. I want to get that I will feel successful if I do this, this and this.


[00:29:29.970] - Rahul Sidhu

Well, I mean, Steve, I have to start, Tuesday's my cheat day, so I'm gonna have a fat stack of pancakes as soon as I'm done with this first.


[00:29:35.810] - Steve Morreale



[00:29:36.440] - Rahul Sidhu

No look, I think I'm a younger guy in my early 30s and I've got a lot I want to do. I've got the traditional things I wanna do with starting a family, et cetera. But the other aspect, technology is something I feel like I'm just now starting my career and on the public safety side, there's so much to be done here. It's an industry that is slow to adopt and is now becoming culturally more accepting of technology and things that were previously scary, like the Cloud and AI have shown so much success in this industry.


[00:30:02.070] - Rahul Sidhu

Now we don't see that hesitancy nearly as much as I did even four or five years ago. So I see this as a wide-out opportunity to make improvements in public safety. I want to get into fire. I want to get into courts. I want to make improvements in those industries as well.


[00:30:15.000] - Steve Morreale

If I can interrupt. One of the things I did not say is that fire EMS seem to be ripe for this.


[00:30:20.760] - Rahul Sidhu

Oh, 100%. We have our first fire Department, Kingman, Arizona, go to Arizona. I mean, they're the first one setting out the sex messages. We're gonna dive into fire very shortly. Courses. Like I said, another big piece of this. But ultimately, all of government is going to be able to benefit from meeting the consumer expectations of the private sector through the same type of technology. And it's unavoidable. At some point, people are gonna get sick and tired of how good the customer services when they're paying for a private company to do it versus how bad it is when the government does it.


[00:30:47.580] - Rahul Sidhu

And I'm not trying to say this in a libertarian mindset, of course, DEA think about it that way. This is a political this is just being able to match that expectation. So diving into that, see, that's one thing I want to make an impact in aside from that, my golf game sucks. I'm trying to break 90. I'm trying to fly more, become a better private pilot going down that path. I mean, I've got my hobbies.


[00:31:06.440] - Steve Morreale

That's great. That's great. Well, so who is the CEO of Spider Tech? And we've been talking about using AI and CRM customer relationship management technology to help police departments keep in touch with their customers. And I want to thank you very much. You have the last word. What's the one last thing that you would want to say to somebody who's listening, who's teetering, who's interested? How do they get in touch with you? And how do you do a little bit convincing in a minute?


[00:31:32.610] - Rahul Sidhu

I think if you've gotten to this part of the podcast or either convinced or you're not in that case, if you are www. Spi. Dr. Noe Spider with NOI Spider tech. Com, check us out. You can shoot me an email. Rahul Rahul at Spider tech. Com. You can find me on Twitter. I spell a little differently. R-A-H-O-O-L-S-I-D-O-O-I make it phonetic for those of you who have ever heard my name before. Follow me on Twitter and you can reach out to me. Happy to chat with anybody about this.


[00:31:58.020] - Steve Morreale

Terrific. It's been a pleasure to talk with you. So thank you, Raul, very much.


[00:32:00.930] - Rahul Sidhu

Thank you, Steve.


[00:32:01.530] - Steve Morreale

You've been listening to the Cop Doc podcast. Steve Morelli. Stay tuned for other episodes. We want to tell you how happy we are. We are now making it where we are in the top 100 in America, the top 200 in Canada, the top 200 in Ireland for podcast. And that is because you, the listener are paying attention. Reach out for me. A cup podcast at gmail. Com. Thanks for listening. See you in the next episode.


[00:32:26.590] - Outro 

Thanks for listening to The Cop Doc Podcast with Dr. Steve Morreale. Steve is a retired law enforcement practitioner and manager turned academic and scholar from Worcester State University. Please tune into The Cop Doc Podcast for regular episodes of interviews with thought leaders in policing.