Columbia County Sheriff and officers
Guides law enforcement in documenting critical details needed for officer’s defense in use of force incident investigations and litigation
App inspired by Zach Presley litigation and 39+ years of law enforcement investigation and defense experience
Augusta, GA, June 09, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Martinez, Georgia-based Seven Eight Technologies officially launched Thin Blue Defend, an innovative, one-of-a-kind Software-as-a Solution (“SaaS”) mobile app that promises to be a gamechanger for law enforcement in their defense related to use of force incidents. Seven Eight CEO J. Douglas Parker, a 30-year veteran of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and author of “A Killher Plan,” developed Thin Blue Defend as the first and only mobile application that guides law enforcement through the process of documenting critical details in Use of Force incidents to aid officers in their defense for anticipated investigations and civil and criminal litigation. Seven Eight worked closely with the office of Columbia County Georgia Sheriff Clay Whittle to develop and test the app, and Columbia County is the first in the nation to deploy Thin Blue Defend for the entire department. There are currently approximately 900,000 sworn law enforcement officers in the United States, and 1.2 million security officers who could potentially benefit from Thin Blue Defend, and thousands more when Thin Blue Defend expands to correctional officers and the private sector.
Why Thin Blue Defend is needed
The current system used by law enforcement agencies nationwide for reporting use of force incidents is a two-page questionnaire that fails to adequately guide officers in capturing all the critical details needed for investigations and litigation that usually follow these incidents. The numbers of officers are at critically low levels. Many current and prospective law officers are shying away from law enforcement careers due to the increasing threat of litigation that could destroy their careers and lives if they are not properly prepared.
Having these details can influence court decisions that mean the difference between continuing as an officer, incarceration, or bankruptcy.
Parker shared what inspired the app, “During preparation for the defense of former Kingsland officer Zech Presley, Presley revealed details that weren’t included in his initial report because he said he didn’t know they were important, and the report form hadn’t asked for them. The prosecutor cast doubt among the jurors by suggesting that Presley had constructed a new narrative before the trial because those details weren’t in his original report. Right then I decided to develop Thin Blue Defend to guide officers in capturing those critical details to help prevent these types of scenarios from destroying the careers and lives of good officers for legitimate use of force actions in the line of duty.”
Barry Fleming, Georgia House of Representatives (R-121) stated, “Doug Parker had a phenomenal career in the Georgia Bureau of Investigations and continues to serve the State by applying his extensive investigative experience to fill the gaps in data collection for use of force incidents. We owe it to our law enforcement officers who risk their lives to provide the best tools to help them perform their duties and provide accurate, timely reporting. We’re proud to see Thin Blue Defend developed in Georgia and that the Columbia County Sheriff’s office is the first to deploy this valuable new tool in support of its officers before it is deployed nationally.”
Thin Blue Defend Features & Benefits
Thin Blue Defend is a mobile app installed on an officer’s personal mobile phone that provides a series of prompts to encourage comprehensive documentation of use of force details. Key features include:
Guidance for immediate comprehensive data capture – App guides officer through categories of in-depth information based on case law. Prompts officer to record details such as officer’s perceptions of incident as it occurred, the officer’s cognitive process of events (what the officer was thinking at each step, why they made certain decisions), locations of key elements, their equipment, weather, lighting, dialogue, activities leading up to incident, and much more.
Easy to use – The app interface offers easy point and click response options, as well as audio and photo input for easy documentation following a stressful situation.
Privacy – All data is encrypted, password protected and stored in the cloud in secured servers to deter unauthorized access. Thin Blue Defend enables the officer to authorize instant access to the data by the officer’s attorney, making it subject to attorney-client privilege. The law enforcement agency does NOT have access to the information, as it is private information owned by the officer. The officer can reference information stored in the app to fill out his department’s official incident report form, but at no time should the officer directly forward data from the app to the department or parties other than officer’s attorney
Instruction – Thin Blue Defend provides in-person instruction on how to use the app, with an emphasis on officers understanding the importance of including small, yet vital, details.
Columbia County Sheriff’s Office First to Deploy Thin Blue Defend
Officers from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office recently completed their instruction sessions for the use of the app, as well as guidance on how to properly reference data from their app when completing their official incident report forms. This helps ensure they don’t compromise the privacy of their information and are able to complete the official report more thoroughly with the comprehensive detail that will be needed in their defense.
Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle remarked, “We are dedicated to providing our officers with the tools they need to do their jobs correctly and protect themselves physically and legally. Thin Blue Defend will be an immensely valuable tool for our officers to document everything related to the use of force incident. With better documentation immediately after the event, the officer can reference that information in their formal report so our agency can have a better understanding of what took place. Additionally, it helps ensure that the officer can provide the detail that may verify the legitimacy of their actions and influence a favorable outcome so they can continue in their law enforcement career. Providing Thin Blue Defend to our officers demonstrates our commitment to them and confidence in them. It gives them peace of mind that they are not alone in figuring out the process. The 30+ years of experience packaged into this app will guide them to document the information they will need for their defense.”
Attorneys Embrace Thin Blue Defend
Thin Blue Defend builds the bridge between the investigation of an officer involved in a use of force incident and the attorney representing that officer.
W. Keith Barber, Attorney, Representing Law Enforcement Officers Involved in Critical Incidents with the Police Benevolent Association, (PBA) and member of the Thin Blue Defend Board of Directors, noted, “In the past, law enforcement personnel have been pretty much on their own in trying to figure out how much information and what types of information they should include in their Use of Force Reports. Every little fact in these sometimes lethal exchanges needs to be documented and preserved for review to understand what happened and why it happened. It is imperative that an officer have the tools and resources to document what was happening at every stage of these incidents. This is the tool that will allow the most thorough gathering of information during use of force incidents. We need to be able to do this for many varied reasons, some of which are:
To be fair to the law enforcement officer or officers involved in these situations.
To be fair to others involved in these situations; and
To be fair to the public at large in these situations.”
Barber concluded, “Thin Blue Defend is the best tool I have ever seen which allows officers and their attorneys to capture this vital and important information which, in turn, allows attorneys to better advise and represent law enforcement officers who find themselves involved in these serious situations. I believe this resource will allow all of us to come to just and fair resolutions in these cases, of which I believe we are all be in favor.”
Downloadable photos, logos and product information for the media are available at this LINK
A video of the Thin Blue Defend Official Launch Press Conference is available at this LINK.
About Seven Eight Technologies
J Douglas Parker created Seven Eight after decades of investigating as an agent for the GBI in use of force cases involving law enforcement officers because officers needed a more comprehensive tool to aids the cognitive process of what the officer perceives on the scene and allows collection of this data. versus the standard single one to two-page form that checks the boxes. Seven Eight created a true Software-as-a Solution (“SaaS”), Thin Blue Defend, for law enforcement (active and retired), security officers and attorneys to collect data on the scene immediately following use of force incidents in anticipation of civil and criminal litigation.
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About the developer: J. Douglas Parker
James Douglas Parker, Seven Eight Technologies Inc. Chairman of the Board, President, and CEO, has 30 years with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, having investigated 300+ violent felonies. Over his career, he has investigated numerous police officer use-of-force cases involving the death of the suspect by law enforcement. Since retiring and creating Parker Consulting, he has assisted attorneys who represent officers charged with crimes as a result of their actions as a law enforcement officer. Some of these cases have gone to a jury trial where he assisted in the defense in a court of law. Private individuals have also employed Parker in reviewing use-of-force cases where the client was involved in an altercation with law enforcement. Parker is a graduate of Georgia Southern University in 1981 with a B.S. in Criminal Justice. He has over 2,000 hours of law enforcement training and is certified as a P.O.S.T. instructor in Georgia. He was certified in 2021 as a Use-Of-Force forensic interviewer. He provided expert testimony in several law enforcement categories in Georgia and Texas. He authored an article in Attorney at Law magazine in 2016 and a book, “A KillHer Plan.”
Julie Shepherd, for Thin Blue Defend