Serving those who protect is more important now than ever
‘To protect and serve’ is a motto that was first verbalized by the LA police department in the early 60s. Today, it’s rare to find a police officer who doesn’t recognize these words—they’ve become something of a mission statement for police officers around the globe who work tirelessly to make the world we live in a safer and better place.
At Griffeye, our driving principle is sprung from this motto too. It reminds us of our true purpose: To serve those who protect. Everything we do should lead to solutions that serve our users—making their already demanding work as easy and efficient to carry out as possible. To dig deeper into what it means to serve those who protect at Griffeye, we sat down with our CEO, Johann Hofmann, and Co-founder and Chief Strategy Officer, Pelle Garå, who retold the story behind Griffeye’s beginnings and talked about why serving those who protect is more important now than ever.
Police officers are under tremendous pressure in the face of rising CSA cases
When it comes to public protection, safeguarding our children from abuse is arguably one of the most important roles a police officer has. Unfortunately, in the recent years, this crime has also grown to be one of the most prioritized areas of investigation due to the ever-growing volumes of child sexual abuse (CSA) material being produced and distributed online.
In the face of heavier caseloads, stress on the job is leading to burnout and the loss of trained investigators—just when their skills and experience is needed most.
“Police officers are under a lot of pressure today to solve child sexual abuse cases faster, and to fight back with the same technically advanced means as criminals,” says Johann. “For those of us working in tech, serving those who protect is more important now than ever. This is our call to step up and support the professionals doing the actual job.”
Griffeye’s mission was sparked by the need to protect the investigators working to save children’s lives
Griffeye was born out of the realization that the people working with these cases need more advanced support. In 2015, we released a product that was the result of engineers, designers, developers and problem-solvers coming together around the mission to serve these police investigators and to create a solution that would support them in their work while protecting them from unnecessary harm.
Everyone has a limit, beyond which they cannot cope. The emotional trauma of having to review and analyze CSA material day after day, year after year, can cause lasting damage to investigators and their families.
“For many of us, what these police officers do day after day, for hours and hours at a time, is unimaginable,” Pelle says. “Our role is to do whatever we can, with the means of tech and knowledge, to support them.”
“For many of us, what these police officers do day after day, for hours and hours at a time, is unimaginable. Our role is to do whatever we can, with the means of tech and knowledge, to support them.”
The automation of these tasks, which Griffeye enables, means that officers can prioritize analysis and investigative work such as victim identification and, as a result, solve crimes faster and safeguard victims sooner. It also enables them to minimize their exposure to traumatizing content.
By taking a proactive approach in protecting the mental health of police officers, agencies can reduce the rate of burnout among staff—helping to preserve not only quality of life, but also the quality and efficiency of investigations, so that they can ultimately save more victims. Innovative methods and novel technology are critical tools for doing so.
“Everyone needs tools that support them on the job, and enable them to work sustainably so they can stay in the fight longer,” says Johann. “This requires that we build innovative technology, and that these solutions can then be put to work. Our technology helps our users—even if it can sometimes be quite progressive. Restrictions and policy need to be updated constantly to keep up with advancements in technology and crime.”
The key to solutions that make a difference is continuous insights from experienced professionals
A lot has happened since Griffeye first started. Today, our software products are used by over 4,000 agencies around the world for investigating CSA crimes. However, the core of Griffeye has never changed. It’s all about the people, the users, and how we can make their everyday jobs easier and more efficient.
“Building the right solutions requires that we constantly collect feedback from Griffeye users about what works and what doesn’t,” says Johann. “So one of the most important things we do is spend time with them on site where they work.”
“What we do at Griffeye goes beyond tech innovation and development. We are trying to solve a human problem. So, it’s essential that we continuously remind ourselves of the purpose behind everything we develop and build.”
The global training program is one way Griffeye product developers stay in touch with users’ needs. We also depend on the valuable insights collected from Law Enforcement Liaisons, former CSA investigators and users of Griffeye Analyze, who act as a bridge between Griffeye users and the development team.
“Over the years, we’ve had the good fortune of meeting a lot of the people who are doing the demanding work of investigating and solving CSA crimes,” says Pelle. “But one of the people who’s inspired me the most is a US police officer named Jim, who I’m lucky to call my friend today. He said that law enforcement officers do the jobs they do because they are simply committed to serving others. I understood then that that’s the affirmative decision they make every day, to put others before themselves. Those words stuck with me, and I think it’s a great example of what’s been driving us to build and innovate tech from the start.”
So, what does it mean to serve those who protect?
“For us, it means developing and delivering technology that enables our users to access the right data and the right tools at the right time,” says Pelle.
“This includes working with law enforcement agencies to streamline organizational and cross-border cooperation, and collaborating with other technology providers to provide the best and most seamless solutions to help fight CSA, Tech alone isn’t enough—we must work together to solve challenges for law enforcement.”
“I agree, and it’s for all these reasons I often say that we are not primarily in the tech business, but rather the people business,” Johann adds.
“Because what we do at Griffeye goes beyond tech innovation and development. We are trying to solve a human problem. So, it’s essential that we continuously remind ourselves of the purpose behind everything we develop and build. For us it means asking ourselves, ‘Are we serving? Are we helping to protect?’ If the answer is yes, then we are on the right path.”
“For us it means asking ourselves, ‘Are we serving? Are we helping to protect?’ If the answer is yes, then we are on the right path.”
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By Johann Hofmann, CEO, Griffeye.