Remember the days when you had just finished a patrol shift, then returned to the police station and spent an hour or two writing a report? And how easy was it to retrieve a report when your supervisor needed it fast? Not very.
Incredibly, many police departments still use these and other antiquated methods of records management, such as Microsoft Access — a clunky database management system notorious for allowing users to enter data but not extract it. Such methods are the worst criminals, because they steal precious time and hold productivity hostage until a new technology arrives in town.
Today many smaller police departments (as well as mid-size and large ones, too) using the Crimestar Records Management System (RMS) are finding quick relief since this innovative software easily integrates multiple reporting processes typically done on paper. What's more, the software has been designed to operate on modern, low-cost, high-performing personal computers running on the latest Windows operating system. This means the software can be used on both laptops and rugged mobile data terminals in a patrol car.Automating is vital
Crimestar Corp. began in 1999, aiming to provide police departments of any size or jurisdiction with an automated method to manage all aspects of records and information management. At that time, there were no software products for small police departments in particular, according to Alec Gagne, the company's founder.
Today, most departments have some kind of RMS that is probably automated, and for good reason. "There's a greater volume of data to be captured, stored, managed and analyzed," Gagne explains. "And this is making automation more necessary now than it ever has been in the past. This used to be the case primarily with large law enforcement agencies, but now that dynamic is pushing its way to small towns."
Consequently, Crimestar began offering software with capabilities such as:
- Investigative alerts on dangerous persons or subjects of interest.
- Ability to record detailed information on a subject including historical address summary, alias names, known associates, multiple digital photos and summary of law enforcement contacts and criminal involvements.
- Track relationships between people, vehicles and locations through common documents and associations.
The New London, N.H., Police Department serves nearly 4,300 people across 13 communities and has eight full-time sworn officers and four part-time officers.
Two years ago New London adopted Crimestar RMS, but not without a firm condition. "I wanted software that integrated right into dispatch so that our dispatcher could record a lot of the initial information and officers could backfill the remainder (information)," explains Chief David Seastrand.
The chief would not be disappointed.
The New London PD is also the Regional Dispatch Center for six surrounding towns, each of which uses the Crimestar RMS as well. The Crimestar CAD system is installed at the dispatch center. This means that information can be shared among police departments in these multiple towns via the RMS while allowing New London to maintain control of its own records management system.
Seastrand decided to install the complete RMS/CAD and MDC solution to create an integrated information management system, but also to extend resources into the field where officers could manage records and write reports directly from the patrol car.Real-time field monitoring
The Mobile Digital Communicator is a powerful and secure digital dispatch/data communications system for field officers. This system allows field patrol units to be silently dispatched to calls via Crimestar's CAD. As a result, patrol units can monitor all CAD events and unit activity in real time, view important call details, maintain their own status for assigned calls or event disposition comments, send private and secure car-to-dispatch or car-to-car messages, and perform comprehensive name, vehicle and property searches in the local or regional Crimestar database.