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Process & Systems Improvement: A Trojan Horse?

By RAD DeRose, President & CEO of L-Tron Corporation

“There are just not enough hours in the day!”

How many times have you heard these emphatic words from hard-working public safety officials and perhaps you’ve expressed them or thought of this phrase yourself while documenting an incident report or other types of paperwork.

If we each had a minute for every time we heard this phrase, perhaps there would be enough time in the day!

Computers and other technology are meant to help us do our jobs better, but sometimes these “efficient” systems create more work, frustration and hassle for the end-user. Other times, the technology systems or work processes are modified to benefit the end-user (e.g. the patrol officer filling out an electronic accident report) but neglect the needs of other administrative personnel processing the reports, distributing them to necessary partners and stakeholders, etc.

Every time a skewed system is used that benefits one user over another, that system stresses our overall productivity as a law enforcement entity and damages our ability to serve the community.

A holistic approach to systems improvement and customization is necessary to achieve true efficiency. To do this, those leaders involved in the systems improvement process must take a broad view of many moving parts to create a cohesive, well-designed whole – they must be “design thinkers”.
This “design thinking”, paired with one Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department (BVRPD) Lieutenant’s drive to better his agency’s citations management system, made a truly-efficient eCitation solution possible.

This particular system was customized with all users in mind. The officer entering the data into the system benefits from automated barcode scanning technology, shortening the amount of time necessary to complete a citation (for a better idea of how this decrease in time improves officer safety, check out this recent blog: How can eCitation Benefit Officer Safety?); this automation, in turn, results in legible, typed citations for administrative personnel to process. This customized solution doesn’t stop at providing efficiency and automation within BVRPD’s office, though; after this information is automatically transmitted to their agency office and processed, it is also immediately sent to the court office for processing. Smooth.

These improvements can result in increased return-on-investment for law enforcement personnel, government leadership, and community tax-payers. This system was created and shared with other agencies in Pennsylvania and continues to benefit other communities and law enforcement agencies in similar ways.

How can your agency apply this understanding to improve your systems?

  1. Meet with various stakeholders (don’t forget IT personnel, information security, legal departments, municipal leaders, subordinates and supervisors, facilities and equipment managers, ‘top brass’ and/or many others that may need to be involved!)
  2. Find a partner(s)to help achieve your goals and provide subject matter expertise
  3. Identify gaps in systems & think of how current processes can work better together
  4. Explore potential technology solutions to fill these gaps
  5. Work with partners and stakeholders to build the systems and processes your agency needs to improve efficiency and achieve organizational goals.

Remember to start broad and maintain a solid understanding of how each of your systems/processes affects various stakeholders. This approach can improve day-to-day operations, positively impact morale and job satisfaction, and establish your department or organization as a thought-leader in a variety of areas. Use design thinking and collaborative partners to your advantage!

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Recommended: To learn more about how e-ticketing and automated systems have improved citations, offering law enforcement agencies more time to patrol communities and keep citizens safe, read “Buffalo Valley Regional PD Implements Electronic Citation Solution” and stay tuned for future case studies and articles from L-Tron Corporation.

About the author: RAD DeRose is the President & CEO of L-Tron Corporation. He has over 30 years experience in data collection and industrial automation solutions. RAD brings a deep industry knowledge-base on the challenges faced in the commercial and public safety sectors.

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