How this law enforcement agency office got out from under the paperwork and back to the police work

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We want our police officers to spend most of their time protecting and serving. But there’s something preventing them from using their time as efficiently as possible: paperwork.

According to a recent survey of 12,000 police chiefs and their commanding staff, 56% say they spend three or more hours on paperwork and reporting per shift. 71% claim they spend at least one hour in their patrol vehicle doing incident reports, while 86% of the surveyed officers worry that in-car documentation can affect their safety.

A Florida sheriff’s office was all too familiar with this issue, spending valuable time, resources, and energy on everything from monotonous paperwork to countless transcriptions.

But rather than simply accepting the situation, this sheriff’s office was ready to take a modern approach to finding a solution.

Ready to leverage new technology

The sheriff’s office had a vested interest in streamlining its records and reporting process while creating a more efficient system for its workforce. More importantly, it also wanted to alleviate potential safety issues that could arise when officers need to type into their computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems while driving.

The belief was that newer technologies could help troubleshoot these problems, but the sheriff’s office didn’t want to invest in just any technology. It sought a solution that would enable deputies to deliver reports via voice narration and conduct searches through license plate dictation. It also was working with a narrow budget.

SHI was called in for assistance.

A nuanced solution from Nuance

After getting a better overall understanding of the sheriff’s office’s needs, SHI believed Nuance Communications, known for building innovative tools for conversational artificial intelligence (AI), had the right technology for the job.

During a remote meeting between all three parties, the sheriff’s office saw firsthand how Nuance’s Dragon speech software could solve their record-keeping, dictation, and narration issues.

The impressive demo led to a request for a pilot.

The transformative investment 

The sheriff’s office started small.

Out of the 1,200 sworn officers, only 12 deputies – ranging from road patrol to senior executives to members of the criminal investigative unit – used the solution at first. That quickly changed.

The pilot was extended twice to be certain the investment was worth the price tag – once at six months, and again at eight months. The sheriff’s office had touch points with Nuance every 2-3 months, as well as monthly check-ins to ensure the solution was doing its job.

It was.

Officer safety was improved because officers didn’t have to take their hands off the wheel while driving. Instead, they could just dictate license plate information and other pertinent details into their Dragon customer relationship management (CRM) software. Furthermore, the sheriff’s office no longer had to spend money on outsourcing transcriptions, as detectives could now use the Dragon technology to transcribe interviews (which also included autocorrect capabilities).

The agency soon found the Dragon speech recognition software enabled officers to create incident reports up to three times faster by speech. By the end of the extended pilot, all 1,200 deputies had Nuance within their CAD systems.

More time doing police work, less time doing paperwork  

Like many law enforcement agencies, this local sheriff’s office was bogged down by paperwork. But instead of continuing to struggle under a growing mound of incident reports, it decided to do something.

SHI had the right technology and vendor for the job and, leveraging its contract with OMNIA Partners, the negotiating power to make the project work within the agency’s budget. The investment in technology-enabled deputies to do their jobs with increased efficiency – officers could now spend more time in the field serving their communities, and best of all, they were safer in the process.

If you’re a government agency looking to increase your productivity via modern devices, contact your SHI account executive to get started.