Incident reporting is vital to solving crime. However, law enforcement officers spend a significant portion of their workdays on documentation. Heavy documentation demands can create negative ripple effects for law enforcement. In fact, 56 percent of officers say they spend three hours or more on reporting and other paperwork per shift, according to the Review of Social Economy.
Here’s how to alleviate the paperwork burden in law enforcement agencies:
Understand the differences between state and federal reporting requirements.
Depending on the state in which your agency resides will determine how your state reporting will be conducted. Federal reporting crime codes may differ than state, as well as formats, and other regulations on how to submit reports.
Take into consideration the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is asking all agencies to transition to National Incident Based Reporting Standards (NIBRS) by January, 1, 2021, which may impact your agency’s ability to effectively meet appropriate reporting demands.
If you’re struggling to understand how the NIBRS transition will affect you, contact us to schedule a free webinar demo. We’re planning webinar demos in upcoming months to help agencies understand the new requirements of NIBRS, especially if you’re an agency in the state of Pennsylvania.
Train officers to focus on their safety and community visibility.
Officer safety is important. Oftentimes, report writing can impact safety with head down reporting in vehicles. This type of manual, disconnected reporting limits community visibility and puts officers at risk.
Instead, agencies are opting to invest in a Records Management System (RMS) like the In-Synch RMS that can help officers create reports faster.
For example, the In-Synch RMS person management module allows officers to quickly search information about person records, including prior incidents, demographics, and officer safety information. Once data is searched, it can be selected, and added to the file. The ‘add, search, choose’ capabilities increase the efficiency of data entry, eliminating duplication.
Invest in technology to decrease documentation demands.
Technology and effective records management can help alleviate the paperwork burden in law enforcement.
Officers shouldn’t be worried about connectivity to complete their reports. In-Synch RMS remains functional with or without a network. Officers can complete reports wherever is convenient, without adding extra time to stop into the station. Officers can synch their data once they reach a network connection.
The In-Synch RMS has others options to make incident report writing more efficient. Investigative tools help discover patterns and indirect relationships that can lead to solving crimes. The In-Synch RMS offers data sharing, allowing partnering agencies to share data, avoiding repeat or unnecessary work.
If you’re a law enforcement agency looking to alleviate your paperwork burden, we can help.
Jerry A. Jacobs & Kathleen Green (1998) Who Are the Overworked Americans?, Review of Social Economy, 56:4, 442-459, DOI: 10.1080/00346769800000044