Watch Out For The Pitch-Men
I recently read an article on the topic of e-ticketing in one of the LE publications out there. The writer was a command officer from a Florida PD. He was extolling the virtues of one of the companies represented in the statistics above (hint: their success rate was well below 50% - email me for more info). His article told of how great this particular company's products are. The writer must have forgotten to mention one minor fact: he has been paid spokesman for the outfit in the past. (ahem)
Let the word get out that your agency is seriously considering a move to e-ticketing or e-crash report and the walls will be crawling with sales people - like ants on a sugar cube. Every One of those sales types will have exactly what you need. (ahem, again)
In Summary... The push by the feds for reams of additional information on each and every crash report will probably force automation on your agency - whether you want it or not. Before you look at the first demo, participate in the first webinar: through-think what you consider success from a functional standpoint. Don't worry about the gizmos - they will take care of themselves. Reduce time, improve accuracy, improve safety, electronic transmission to the court and state are some examples. Make the goals measurable - which means assign numeric values to your goals. (if you need assistance, email me)
Ask potential vendors if they are interested. Tell them right up front that they will be picked and judged based on how well their products get you to your functional goals. Many will drop out right there. Ask the vendors on your short list for specific references with contact names, phone numbers and email addresses. Create a questionnaire. KEEP IT SIMPLE & SHORT. Find out how well each vendor has done with other agencies.
Remember that price is only ONE of many items that must be considered. Officer training is frequently overlooked, or it is treated like a step-child. Good training will directly affect how well and how quickly you meet your goals and possibly make the difference between life and death for a cop who uses the stuff.
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It all comes down to saving just ONE life. Make sure you are doing your part.