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Police Report Writing Software Press Release

May 19, 2008

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Case Study: PreSynct_SaaS Hosted Model


Dos Palos Police Department: The Dos Palos Police Department performs general law enforcement duties for the City of Dos Palos, CA, which has a population of +/- 5,000 in western Merced County. It is the mission of the Dos Palos Police Department to be a tool for the community to continue the peacefulness, and enjoy the quality of life only found in small agricultural communities.

Existing Environment: Dos Palos Police Department is a small agency with 15 sworn officers. They have an off-site RMS and an outside contract for CAD services. The Chief had been looking at purchasing an RMS/CAD system of their own, but prices were well over their budget. There was no IT staff, so the budget would also have to include IT support staff, with the ongoing salary and benefits added to the annual operating budgets.

Problem:
The off-line report-writing system they were using was very old and suddenly crashed. All data was lost because there was no electronic archive or storage. They had been looking at applications and needed to act fast. They wanted a comprehensive web-based system that would share data with the regional RMS and other departments. The budget to purchase a system was not available.

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Project Objective:
Quickly implement a state-of-the-art digital incident reporting software that improves efficiency in incident report writing, while implementing a reliable offsite storage system for record archiving.

Project Goals:
The software should be accessible wherever the Internet is reachable, including laptops installed in police vehicles, via mobile devices and in the office. Select a system that can be implemented quickly because the existing system crashed completely and was no longer usable. Select a reliable incident reporting system without the cost and maintenance associated with hosting and maintaining a system in-house. Select a system that is affordable within the existing budget.

Selection Process:
Deciding to sign up for Presynct_SaaS subscriptions was not a new concept for Dos Palos Police Department. The services contract for the off-site RMS and CAD is, in fact, software-as-a-service (SaaS), so they were already familiar with the significant benefits of SaaS. The preference was to add another patrol officer to support the community rather than add IT staff to support a system.

Benefits Achieved:
• Professional Image. Presynct_SaaS forms-based incident reports serve as the professional report presentation to the District Attorney, the public, and others.
• Feet on the Street. The Department policy is to have at least one officer (of the total 15 sworn) on the street at all times so that there is always visibility in the community. Presynct_SaaS facilitates that policy.
• Eliminate duplicate data entry into the RMS. Because the RMS provider does not have a report-writing application, Dos Palos cuts and pastes the entire forms-based Presynct_SaaS report into the RMS rather than duplicate the data item-by-item.
• Efficiency and reduced operating costs. Paper and printing costs are eliminated for report distribution. The District Attorney gets an electronic copy of incident reports and prints out whatever copies they need for themselves.
• Fast report turnaround. The district attorney’s office appreciates the fast turnaround of incident reports and the quick response they receive for requests to resend reports or provide copies of reports to others.
• Accessibility. The Department has wireless internet in the cars. According to the Chief, when he responds to a call, he sets up the Presynct_SaaS incident report when he arrives at the scene and enters all his notes into Presynct_SaaS rather than on paper for later transfer. When the call is completed, he closes out the incident report in Presynct_SaaS, clicks SEND, and the incident report is filed. Much faster than the old method of going back to the station to write a report from handwritten notes taken earlier in the day.
• Affordability. The department’s cell phone bill is more expensive than subscribing to Presynct_SaaS. Actually, cell phone service is, in fact, a subscription to software as-a-service.
• Quick Implementation. Three weeks after contract signing, the Department was fully operational in Presynct_SaaS using digital versions of its existing forms.
• Accurate UCR statistics. With the customized property form that Presynct_SaaS created for Dos Palos, the clerk gets details on-line in Presynct_SaaS.
• Fully supported at no additional cost. Dos Palos uses the existing desktop PCs and laptops they already have to access Presynct_SaaS to file an incident report. They are not responsible for managing the system and don’t have expensive paper-based incident report off-site storage needs.
• Disaster recovery solution. Presynct_SaaS is part of the Dos Palos COOP (Continuity of Operations) Plan. If the building burns down, all that is needed to be fully operational is the patrol car, a pistol, a shotgun, and a laptop for access to Presynct_SaaS. The building is just office space.
• Security and Privacy. All data to and from Presynct_SaaS are encrypted in transit. Chief Mann says it would be easier to get crime report data from the courthouse public record than it would be to try and snag encrypted data over the Internet.
• Trial Period and Discounted Fee. When Dos Palos first started out, they wanted to make sure the software worked for them so they paid the subscription fees on a month-to-month basis. Now that they are confident that the system works well, they are planning to take advantage of the discount that is offered for annual payments.

Lessons Learned:
• Prepare for change. At first, some of the officers hated it…because it was change. Now all but one likes it.
• Plan on a 90-day transition period. It takes about 90 days to get the officers to “I love it” from “I hate change.”

User Feedback:
Patrol Supervisor, “I love the fact that I can review reports remotely. Our officers are more productive, too.” Detective, “Being able to electronically send reports to the DA is great!”

Chief Barry Mann, “We needed a comprehensive web-based system that can transfer incident data to other agencies, and dollar for dollar Presynct_SaaS was the best choice. With Presynct, we have a record of all reportable incidents from petty theft to homicide, and by backing it up locally and saving it remotely, our files are safe in case of catastrophe.”