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Public safety organizations utilize law enforcement software to improve policing practices and establish trust and legitimacy with communities. Software tools replace manual efforts for tasks such as report writing, investigations, records management, and more. This prevents human error and facilitates proper operation of important public safety processes. Many law enforcement agencies are implementing these solutions to increase efficiency and improve outcomes, which is especially important in times of enhanced public attention to law enforcement tactics.
This guide explains the benefits and features of law enforcement software.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
- What is law enforcement software?
- Common features of law enforcement software
- What type of buyer are you?
- Benefits and potential issues
- Key considerations when purchasing law enforcement software
- Market trends to understand
What is law enforcement software?
Law enforcement software helps public safety organizations effectively manage crime investigations, reports, and data. It provides a range of features that add utility and efficiency to law enforcement agencies. The software system is an integrated platform that hosts the reporting, investigation, and case management tools needed to protect officers and their communities.
Common features of law enforcement software
Law enforcement software includes a variety of features depending on an organization's goals and needs. Here are some of the most essential tools to consider when choosing a solution:
|Evidence management||Collect, document, and secure evidence on a centralized platform for easy access and sharing between officers and investigators. Store, transfer, and manage data from body camera footage, crime scene photographs, audio recordings, video surveillance, and other agency databases, as well as physical evidence and property.|
|Incident mapping||Track and visualize incident locations. Allocate resources, model risk management, and effectively direct public safety personnel.|
|Investigation management||Create streamlined processes to ensure smooth case investigation. Track information and documents related to cases, and share case information with departments, work units, and federal offices.|
|Case management||Create workflows that manage and track cases from start to finish. Manage all case documents, including court status, disposition, charges, and images, from a single location.|
|Dispatch management||Prioritize and record incident calls, identify the status and location of responders, and effectively dispatch responder personnel and resources to incident sites.|
What type of buyer are you?
Law enforcement software addresses the needs of public safety organizations. Choosing the right solution starts with identifying the products and features that best fit your agency's needs.
Police department criminal investigations division (CID): CID personnel provide community policing and investigate all types of cases. Increase department efficiency with tools that make it easier to manage, share, and analyze investigation data. Evidence, investigation, and case management features reduce manual reporting tasks, so CID officers spend less time at their desks and more time out on the streets.
School district safety agencies: School district safety personnel manage and respond to incidents across one or more campus environments. Look for case management features that reduce the time spent manually creating reports. A dispatch management tool helps school districts track and manage security activity, locate information quickly, and coordinate incident response personnel and resources.
Crime scene investigators (CSIs): CSIs spend most of their time working in the field, securing and documenting evidence at crime scenes. Tools such as dispatch management, field reporting, and scheduling help streamline evidence collection and coordination of personnel and resources.
Benefits and potential issues
Law enforcement software has numerous benefits for both public safety organizations and their communities.
- Streamline data collection and analysis: Store and manage large amounts of data in a secure environment. Share and analyze data with other departments and agencies to improve collaboration and decision-making processes. Streamlined data administration helps law enforcement personnel effectively manage multiple aspects of operations and investigations.
- Build a repository of investigative information: A centralized database helps law enforcement leverage information from previously entered data, including specific details such as evidence items, family records, biometrics, and criminal history. Identify data patterns and trends to understand and anticipate crimes, allowing for proactive distribution of personnel and resources.
- Use actionable insights for quicker responses: Incident mapping helps law enforcement track incident locations, detect crime patterns, and reduce recurrence of criminal activities. This feature keeps personnel informed of crime incident locations, improves response times, and guides allocation of resources.
Key considerations when purchasing law enforcement software
Look for law enforcement solutions with mobile functionality. The highly mobile nature of law enforcement requires mobile-centric software features. Mobile functionality lets agencies keep track of field personnel and allows responders to update their dispatch status, access information, and share critical data. Determine your specific mobile access needs, and shortlist only law enforcement software that meets those requirements.
Market trends to understand
Cloud solutions improve case management efficiency and security. Data security is a primary concern of law enforcement, and cloud-based systems are more secure than conventional ones. Cloud solutions facilitate the sharing of data with other departments and agencies, streamline evidence collection, and simplify case management.
Artificial intelligence (AI) enhances law enforcement operations. AI technologies are increasingly used for facial identification and enhanced search of images and video footage. These tools excel at spotting patterns and identifying outliers. AI video and image tools can learn complex tasks in order to match faces, identify weapons, and detect events such as accidents and crimes, according to the National Institute of Justice.