…and more humanity.
That is the essence of the energy that permeated through the walls of the Sheraton Beach Resort in Panama City, Florida, where several hundred Florida based Corrections leaders flocked for the 92nd Florida Council on Crime and Delinquency (FCCD) Conference.
The conference focuses on providing world class, criminal justice training across all branches of public safety. The organization dates back to 1935 and was previously known as the Florida Probation Association, whose objective was to promote high standards for criminal justice agencies and personnel. As such, corrections leaders are excited to attend this conference in celebration of their work, commitment to professional growth and a desire to learn of cutting-edge technology that is improving the criminal justice sphere.
The conference kicked off with a golf tournament in true Florida fashion—with a lot of sun and even more humidity. The tournament was an opportunity to not only raise money for charities that are important to this organization, but also create camaraderie and build relationships amongst those who are committed to maintaining stellar performance in Florida’s prisons and jails. According to the Florida Department of Corrections, Florida has the third largest prison population in the US making the work that organizations like FCCD do especially important. I watched as friends and colleagues shared a warm embrace, high-fives and enthusiastic elbow bumps—all happy to be reunited in the name of love for their profession.
As I connected with various leaders, I found myself gaining a new understanding of Florida's corrections system and how the FCCD is taking a holistic approach to solve many community challenges. With three organizational pillars that includes: training, community service and collaboration with all criminal justice professions; I quickly realized that FCCD's commitment to improving criminal justice begins with their work in the community and is funneled into Florida's prisons through focused training, technology and leadership development.
Carol Starling, the current President of FCCD and a retired state Warden, shares the importance of providing training to corrections professionals in traditional and innovative ways. She states, “Because of our chapter effectiveness, every chapter is required to have a certain number of trainings yearly, on topics that will interest and improve the work and lives criminal justice professionals.” As a forward-thinking public safety technology company, Axon uses virtual reality to provide corrections-specific training scenarios to emphasize critical thinking skills and drive retention. The union between corrections and Axon's ecosystem of industry leading hardware, software and training safety continues to grow as more solutions are offered to improve efficiency in correctional facilities.
Starling continues on to emphasize, "Anyone who has a product or service dealing with the criminal justice field, must get in front of the people to know if the product is [any] good and how to make it better. You've got to find out what the needs are." This is exactly what the Axon Corrections team accomplished at the FCCD Conference.
The conference provided a direct opportunity for Axon Corrections representatives to share additional education of the performance, purpose and capabilities of the products and most importantly, learn about the customer experience. Several conference goers from the Florida Department of Corrections spoke highly about the efficiency of the TASER and body-worn-camera (BWC) sharing that although there was some hesitation at the initial adoption, today, they simply cannot imagine doing their jobs without it.
One attendee expressed gratitude for the TASER 7 exclaiming that, "Simply carrying a TASER significantly reduces conflict within our correctional facilities—it’s invaluable!" Moments like this are both humbling and inspiring as it illustrates the power of Axon's solutions. Over the course of this 4-day conference, I learned that both BWC and the TASER energy weapons are critical in de-escalation and prevention of incidents within Florida correctional facilities.
More than anything, attendees felt that their experience, feedback and contribution to society mattered, and Axon Corrections was there to listen, learn and support them every step of the way. The overall feeling of the conference was hopeful and committed as reconnected, grew professionally and learned about cutting edge technology that will assist them in executing their job more effectively.
With organizations like FCCD creating a pathway to improve the criminal justice experience and Axon Corrections providing technology to make prisons, jails and juvenile detention centers safer, we are well on our way to creating a more efficient corrections system.