This predicament is aggravated by the limited budgets that can go hand-in-hand with small police departments. Smaller agencies purchase less and do so less often than larger agencies. And, regardless of their relative size, police departments spend the bulk of their resources on staffing and other employee-related expenses, limiting the dollars available for Web-based transcription and translation outsourcing.
Furthermore, different law enforcement agencies absorb new technologies at differing rates because most agencies are too small to evaluate the technologies offered to them by outside vendors.
Absent any in-house expertise, and in light of a slew of stories extolling the pitfalls of purchasing unproven technologies, agencies are afraid to adopt new innovations or turn to outside vendors for assistance. This is unfortunate given the fact that the value of secure Web-based outsourcing has proven itself efficient, accessible and affordable.
Setting these acknowledged benefits to one side, Web-based innovations are only desirable if law enforcement agencies can use them to solve the problems they were purchased to address. This is true whether a department wants to augment its criminal and internal affairs investigations, improve its patrol reporting function or speed up the dissemination of information to other law enforcement or criminal justice agencies. Outsourcing can also absorb unpredictable peak demands for both.
Outsourcing is an established means to many desirable ends and transcription and translation outsourcing are leading that charge. Additional benefits of outsourcing are to reduce delays, improve quality and reduce cost to the attendant; as well as eliminate the need to recruit, hire, train, secure clearances for, provide facilities for and pay overtime and benefits to additional staff.
Outsourcing enables departments to meet the rising transcription demands in lieu of hiring more staff. "With outsourcing, we save money — fewer salaries and benefits have to be paid," says McCart.
Deeds summarizes the prevailing view among outsourcing law enforcement agencies: a quick turnaround on transcription orders, the security of the technology, the confidentiality of the process and responsive customer service. He adds a single lament: "My only regret is that we didn't make the transition to Web-based outsourcing sooner."