The software suggestion box

We all recall the retail business mantra “the customer is always right.” Well, while this may not always be true, the customer today has a huge voice in how law enforcement products are designed.  Software is a prime example of this trend, and...

So, just how does “Decision Support” work to help law enforcement agencies? Prevost poses an example. “Let’s say a police department wants to measure certain crimes by geographic area, day of the week, time of day, so that they can staff certain beats of patrols accordingly,” said Prevost. “ If I know, for instance, that I’ve got crimes occurring at a specific chain of convenience stores at two o’clock in the morning on Saturday nights, and there’s a real rise in incidents and frequency of these, as a command person I can staff accordingly to apply the right patrols to that area.”

Prevost said the upshot here is that New World’s Decision Support module in its RMS program allows law enforcement customers to query a database and use that information to answer key questions. As a result, crime trending and statistical tracking can occur. “This is aimed not just at fighting crime,” Prevost said, “but also at reducing it.”

Customized Report Forms

Another RMS software maker, TriTech Software Systems, learned from its customers that having all files associated with any one case is a high priority. Therefore, files containing video, audio and PDFs can be attached in one place.

TriTech makes two RMS software products—VisiNet Solutions for large public safety agencies, and Imc Solutions for small to medium-sized agencies.

Numerous police departments have requested a capability for devising customized report forms, which the software now offers. According to Leo Hisoire, TriTech’s Vice President of Operations, these forms are normally created in Microsoft Word.

 “We have a function where data from the case can be populated in that Word document, then saved as an attached file for later reference,” Hisoire said. State data sharing programs include NJ-Dex in New Jersey, SWISS data share in Massachusetts, OLLEISN in Ohio, to name a few.

Hisoire added that TriTech currently is developing a Lynx interface with Northrup Grumman for NCIS. “Our real-time data sharing program allows departments using our Imc Solutions software to instantly see what other Imc departments have on a person using a federated query,” he said.

Two other RMS software providers serving mid-sized to large public safety agencies—Intergraph Corp. and Spillman Technologies—also have innovative protocols in place that allow for specific customer feedback on desired changes or additions to RMS software.

Help sought to prioritize RMS solutions

Intergraph Corporation, for example, asks customers to complete a survey form so they can indicate what kinds of enhancements are needed. Customers can log suggestions on the company’s website as well, and these become part of the survey results.

Intergraph also wants to hear from senior ranking officials within its customer base, so it recruits a few of these customers to serve on a kind of steering committee. “We get them to help us prioritize what are the most crucial areas of focus in public safety solutions we offer,” explained Steve Marz, Vice President of Intergraph’s Public Safety Management Division. “We want to make sure we have something that is meeting the needs of customers today, but also that is going to address trends and the direction we see the industry moving.”

According to Terry Shoemaker, Public Safety Manager, Law Enforcement Records and Jail Management, for Intergraph’s Government and Infrastructure Division, the company’s software is designed so that it can be “taken out of the box” and used immediately. Oftentimes, however, Shoemaker notes that customers will want changes made to their Intergraph software to fit the specific needs of their agency.

“Our customers have the ability to see what already has been requested for software changes and additions, and to indicate that they also are interested in these as well,” Shoemaker said.

Intergraph soon will unveil two new product versions of its RMS software. Between them there will be a new field reporting version, a permits module, DUI report capability, data transfer between modules to avoid duplication, and improved ability for attachments so that they have better security when traveling across a network that encrypts the attachments. Finally, there will be a feature to allow data collection for crime scene evidence directly in the field.

Spillman Technologies holds an Annual Users Conference where customers can meet directly with the company’s product line managers to speak their minds about RMS software improvements.

Customers vote;  best ideas chosen from a ‘gold’ list

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