After the Webinar: Building Alliances to Combat Organized Retail Crime. Q&A with Travis Martinez

Webinar presenter Travis Martinez answered a number of your questions after his presentation, Building Alliances to Combat Organized Retail Crime. Here are just a few of his responses.


Audience Question: So, you talked about how sometimes getting to use the technology might take some convincing of higher-ups. How did you accomplish that and what’s the best advice you have on selling the boss on how to embrace this technology? 

Travis Martinez: So that’s a good question. Fortunately, Jim Bueermann, was our boss at the time I was looking at the trackers. Jim Bueermann retired from — and went on to lead the National Police Foundation, is very progressive, and very forward-thinking. He’s one of those bosses who that realizes sometimes you just got to take risks, and I will tell you, working with the technology stuff, it’s so surprising how many people in leadership positions are afraid of failing, afraid of taking risks. You know, they just want to ride that wave out. And I presented all over the country at tons of conferences and in police departments. And it just baffling some of the pushback that people get from their brass. With that in mind, I have several PowerPoints, several articles, I have e-mail verbiage. If you send me an e-mail and you want more information on the trackers or on the License Plate Reader cameras. I have generic e-mails with a whole bunch of information with a bunch of links. You know, a couple of videos that I didn’t show here, I can send you in it just. If you have one of those bosses that is just not excited about trying new things, you needed, I always advocate talking to them. And then, if that doesn’t work, you know, talking to the other people, people in your community. And usually what happens is whenever something catches the boss’s attention, like, hey, we need to solve this problem. It’s like, OK, hey, we’ve been talking about technology that can solve this problem, but we haven’t been able to embrace it. Maybe now’s the time to do it. And you know, sometimes that’s the impetus of getting it started. So, I do recognize it can be challenging though. So that’s a good question, Hannah. That’s the best answer I can give you, I guess.


Audience Question: Do you have any written materials that you used to respond to the ACLU’s questions?

Travis Martinez: That’s a good question. What is what we did? And what I would advocate is when I was telling you about this town hall meeting, what we did was we live-streamed it and this has saved me a ton of time. So, we live-streamed it and you can when I get questions now about our use of technology, I refer the people to this live stream. I was like, “Hey, why don’t you watch this live stream or this recording of this town hall meeting and if you have any questions then you can reach back out to me and get a hold of me. And I’d be willing to sit down and answer them.” But I’ve never had to sit down with somebody and answer them after I’ve referred them to the live stream. So, you let the technology speak for itself, and you talk about how you guys are going to deploy it. And for like the instance with the ACLU, on the License Plate Readers stuff, you tell them, “Hey, it’s 30 days. The Flock camera only keeps the images for 30 days. You can certainly pay more to keep it longer,” but I will tell you, we’ve never had an issue about the 30-day window because we train our people, our officers, our CSOs that are taking reports. They know they only have 30 days to get those images. And so, when they take, that’s part of their initial investigation is to go to Flock and see if they can capture any of the images. You know, obviously, once they capture an image, they can download and put it book it into evidence until it’s purged.


Audience Question: What additional training did you need to provide dispatch and what’s the best way to go about engaging dispatch and making sure that they’re looped in and prepared to respond and all that good stuff? 

Travis Martinez: So, for our department, our dispatchers are located at our police department, they’re not at an offsite facility, we work hand in hand with them all the time.

We did dispatch training on the trackers. We got pushback from some of the dispatchers, you know, it’s just like anything. Success breeds success. We made sure we acknowledge those dispatchers that embrace the technology and are very pivotal in making the arrest. Can we make sure we acknowledge that? You know, sometimes, we all know our dispatchers are unsung heroes, a lot of times. We try to make sure we acknowledge their efforts. I can tell you; you can tell the difference between the dispatchers that are on top of it, and the dispatchers that aren’t on top of it. Because the dispatchers that are on top of it, or like constantly updating, “OK? Hey, the speed is 50 miles an hour. It’s going to, you know, going this way going that way.” As opposed to, “Hey, what’s the update? You know, it’s been, like 45 seconds. What’s the latest?” So, working with those dispatch supervisors and getting them the training in, like I say, it’s pretty cheap proof, so, you know, you get 10, 15 minutes of training. It’s pretty easy to use. Especially with the GPS trackers, the license plate reader cameras might need a little bit longer training, but, again, it’s pretty easy to do. So.


Audience Question: Did you get the retailers to get involved and sign up or sign off on this idea and did they literally have to enter into a contract with the city or the Sheriff’s department, or is it more of an MOU or an MOA? 

Travis Martinez: So, our city attorney wanted us to have them sign hold harmless agreements. So, we have a sample how a hold harmless agreement that we uploaded here. We’re not really having them sign this anymore because we got a new city attorney. I guess our previous city attorney looked at it as a way to help if something goes wrong that, it’s a way to help the city, you know, defend itself. Which, you know, people are going to see us one way or another or outright if something goes wrong. Whether we have a hold harmless in place or not. I will tell you that getting the retailers involved is just like, it’s basically education. When the crimes are committed, they’re like, “Hey, we actually have some technology that we can deploy out here that can lead us to the suspects instead of us just taking this police report or taking an in-custody report. You know, when we’re solving your problems.” So, work with your loss prevention regional, supervisors, and their directors, and explain to them what you can do. And pledging to them that, if they get hit you’re going to solve, you’re going to work the case. Absent stabbing or a murder, or something where we don’t have any resources. But, even then, if a tracker is taken. We can slow it down. Like the story, I told you about the ——————- that occurred. So, it’s just really massaging that and educating and communicating with all the businesses. And I’ll tell you that it takes a lot of work though. It takes a lot of time and a lot of effort. The businesses are busy, talking to the right people, getting in touch with the right people, and explaining to them. You know, we’ve had to stop ——– we’re like, we go there and like, “Oh, no, we’re not going to put the tracker in there.” “Our corporate lawyers said not to sign the hold harmless.” And so, then they get hit again and most of these places are franchise-owned. And we’re like, “Hey! We could be doing an in-custody report, where we would have caught him if you were to put the trackers.” And we’ve had the owners like, “Hey, screw it. I’m the franchise owner. I’m going to do it.”


Audience Question: Who do you typically work with at those retail organizations? Is it the store manager level, is it the mall/strip mall security, or is it someone at corporate? Where do you even start to figure out who the right person is to talk to? 

Travis Martinez: So, for the trackers, we work closely with the store managers. If the store managers will sometimes put us in touch with like the Regional Loss Prevention people. But for the cameras, we work closely with the property management company. Every big shopping complex has a property management company overseeing it. Those are the people you want to work for work with on the camera installation, because, again, they’re going to be mounted on their property. And they have a vested interest in solving the crime that’s occurring on their property because it’s their property. You know, they want a safe environment for their businesses and for their customers. Or else those are going to leave?


Click Here to Watch a Recording of Building Alliances to Combat Organized Retail Crime.  


Additional Resources
1 year ago
Crime Scene Analysis Decision Making
There are factors that play critical roles in our decision-making. To become an informed and aware d […]
1 year ago
Trusting Your Own Personal GPS to Solve Problems
Almost everyone has found themselves amidst a decision questioning our judgment and not quite knowin […]
1 year ago
Addressing Organized Retail Crime with Specialized Police Technology
 Organized Retail Crime (ORC) not only impacts the businesses whose merchandise are stolen, but it […]
3 years ago
Crime Prevention with Data-Informed Community Engagement
What happens when you merge factors of evidence-based and community policing together? Well, you get […]