Of the many important issues, we discuss with law enforcement, looking for ways to help their officers spend more time out in the community is probably at the top of the list. With an increased emphasis on community policing, improving officer safety, to making systems like Computer Aided Dispatch and Records Management Systems (or CAD and RMS) easier to use, it’s not surprising that a common sentiment among police chiefs and other departments heads is, “how do we give officers back time?” Today, however, one of the largest obstacles to achieving this goal is outdated documentation processes and workflows, many of which are still manual in nature.
As the focus continues to shift towards onboarding better tools and technologies in policing, one of the central areas many departments need to tackle is the amount of paperwork in police work required to get the job done. While a critical component of policing, incident reporting demands can become a burdensome task for many officers and hinder the critical time they need to spend out patrolling our streets.
According to a recent national survey of police departments, 39% of officers said they can spend upwards of 3 to 4 hours each day completing incident reports and other police-paperwork. This means that the average officer is spending half of an eight-hour shift typing up reports.
With documentation demands like this, day in and day out, it’s no wonder that many departments are struggling to balance the requisite paperwork requirements to move criminal cases along against the time needed to be out in the community to stop crime from happening in the first place.
Chief Joe Solomon of the Methuen Police Department, outside of Boston, Massachusetts, recognizes the importance of providing his officers with new methods and better tools to help them work more efficiently – and just as critical, in a safer way. “We need systems that are not only smart but can work seamlessly together to help us better deliver key information out into the field to stop crime before it happens.” says Solomon.
The Chief isn’t alone. With the growing expectation from police officers to access tools to help them complete everyday tasks, from writing incident report to entering data into the RMS, or simply calling up a license plate, the demand for solutions like Dragon Law Enforcement speech recognition to help departments get police paperwork done – faster, safer and more efficiently – is growing.
In the end, anything that can help officers dedicate more time to active policing can make the difference in the daily lives of the communities they serve.