On any given week, my team and I are meeting with police chiefs and officers from large to small departments around the country. Of the many issues we discuss, one that always comes up is how can new policing tools help them improve officer safety.
According to law enforcement, one of the most vulnerable times for an officer is when he or she is heads-down in the patrol car, for instance, in situations where they are stationary and working on incident reports. Moving their eyes away from their line-of-sight, even for a moment, can make them more prone to accidents – or worse, ambush.
While officers are taught many tactical moves when it comes to safety, specifically as it relates to situational awareness, from using Jeff Cooper’s Color Code, which breaks down situational awareness into four levels of increased alertness, to recognizing patterns of behavior, many of these tactics do not address manual reporting, which keeps officers heads down in the patrol vehicle.
As more departments look to technology to help with policing, a new crop of reporting tools work to help officers investigate crimes, document encounters, and look up records, all while keeping them safer.
From police incident reporting software that empowers officers to use their voice to complete reports and look up license plates, to virtual tools that enable them to virtually follow and catch up with suspects at a safer pace, these all work to help protect them while they are on the road: the most common and most dangerous part of their day.
Law enforcement professionals spend a significant portion of their workday completing incident reports. This not only decreases their time available to interact with citizens in the community and their ability to conduct higher-value police work, but in many instances, keeps them too focused on paperwork versus policing.
As more police agencies begin to embrace solutions like voice recognition technologies, they will likely not only find an increase in efficiency but also officer safety, especially when it comes to completing police incident reports.