How Law Enforcement CAD Systems Help with Case Management in 2020
The types of cases a law enforcement agency manages are vast. The efficiency with which cases are organized is greatly increased when a computer-aided dispatch systems (CAD) system is part of the management plan. The agency policymakers of today likely started their careers when case management was handled largely with papers, folders, and filing cabinets. The evolution of the electronic equivalent in which scanned documents and saved files created on a word processor were saved on a single hard drive resulted in only a slight improvement in case management.
The use of CAD, combined with an agency’s records management system (RMS) and mobile technology, brought data organization well into the 21st century. Advances in case management have meant improved clearance rates, reductions in civil liabilities, increased efficiency, and safer communities. As noted, law enforcement agencies contend with a variety of case types. Usually, case management is thought to apply primarily to detectives and how they balance the intricacies of an investigation. However, the following two examples will examine how case management and CAD can benefit two other instrumental components of a law enforcement agency; the 911 center and the patrol function.
The Criticality of Technology in Case Management Processes:
Over this last decade, technology has played a vital role in streamlining law enforcement investigations. Case management software will continue to expand to meet the demand of digital transformation. Digital evidence and information gathering has become a critical component to law enforcement. These case management software can handle:
Acts of terrorism
Technological advances have the potential to pave the way for investigators to keep track of all evidence gathered. This case management software will enable a web based solution by linking information to one or many cases.
The primary drivers of a technology solution to improve efficiencies and maintain best practices for investigation handling and case management include:
Incident Intake and Tracking
Data Management and Collaboration
Third-party Integrations (systems, databases, or data warehouses)
The Benefits Associated with Case Management Software:
Law enforcement benefits with modern case management software enables all case details to be stored in a central location. In addition to having information stored at a central location will allow more people to access that information. These benefits improve incident response time and aid in managing higher case volumes.
Security and Availability
The priority of law enforcement agencies is confidentiality and secure information. Secure information is essential to store evidence and data collected during investigations. Investigations produce a large amount of information that needs to be stored securely while remaining accessible to law enforcement.
Law enforcement agencies are concerned that this sensitive data needs to be properly secured and essential to upgrading their case management software. Thankfully, technological advancements have rapidly progressed over the past few years and has matured to the point that this cloud-based law enforcement case management software has become an easy choice for agencies to upgrade from conventional paper storage.
When storing confidential data with case management software, the agency adopting this software must be diligent to ensure their cloud hosting is highly secure and designed specifically for law enforcement.
Technological advancements have made it easier to coordinate important data with other government agencies. But these advancements have also made it easier for information to slip into silos, preventing the sharing of valuable data.
Law enforcement case management software should focus on removing silos and bringing different agencies together. Case management software should give supervisors the capability to assign tasks to law enforcement. Therefore, they should be allowed to share case folders with other units.
Case management software allows data to be entered into the cloud by individuals investigating a case or crime scenes. To capture the information, investigators need access to a secure system that can capture images, video, data, and analytics.
Law enforcement officers on the scene can begin logging information into forms designed into the software.
The use of pre-configured entry documents can help investigators save time by ensuring that the proper information is easily imputed and accessed by different agents in the scene. Therefore a proper sequence is stored in the software and the case folder will automatically show exactly everything that had been documented.
CAD, Case Management With the 911 Center
A case may commence with a 911 call, a radio transmission, or any number of other ways. Regardless, the instant a case begins, law enforcement CAD system is working to manage every aspect of its contents. One of the first things to happen will be the issuance of a sequential case number: the identifier which will forever be used to associate the incident to its subsequent documentation. As the event is established, the CAD system will begin to auto-populate important details such as the physical address, the appropriate patrol unit based on precinct or other geographical assignment, and any special alerts associated with the location.
As patrol units are en route and the incident continues, 911 operators will continually enter new information into the CAD system as it becomes available. Important aspects of case management are happening simultaneously within CAD and can include updating details of a developing event. For instance, if the case involves a vehicle, not only will CAD include specifics such as a description, direction of travel, and license plate, but also changes in location as they happen. Information about a suspect involved in the call for service as well as any known hazards first responders may face can also be included in CAD as part of managing the case.
In the event of a multi-agency incident, CAD can manage the response from police, fire fighters, and emergency medical service (EMS) personnel. Additionally, the use of the AgencyLink feature will permit not only traditional public safety to benefit from a shared CAD approach, but partner organizations such as animal control, public transportation, private security, and others. All of this information becomes a part of the permanent incident record and allows for better case management during and after any type of event.
CAD and Law Enforcement Case Management for Patrol Officers
It is far more common than Hollywood would let on: patrol officers routinely conduct investigations and manage a caseload. It is not always the detective who shows up on a scene and takes over. While individual police agency procedures will vary, it is not uncommon for those in the traditional uniform function to take the lead role in a criminal investigation. From domestic violence to DUI, to drug possession, to theft incidents and more, the men and women in uniform also benefit from CAD's role in case management.
A domestic violence call for service, for example, can have a multitude of important details which much be properly managed from beginning to end. As previously stated, the call for help itself will begin to populate many of the vital aspects of the incident including the location, phone number(s), subjects involved, and historical information. Special alerts entered into CAD can be accessed by responding units to help identify previous violent encounters, the presence of weapons, or other areas related to officer safety.
Streamline the Case Folder
Traditional investigations case folders are often plagued with a lot of scrambled information on the case. With modern case management software the investigations would make information a lot more easier to understand.
This is how information streamlines case folders:
Search warrants are common activities especially in narcotics cases. Case management software would help expedite the search warrant process by having the data easily accessed and consistent with what other deputy units have.
Interviewing a Witness
Case management software allows police officers to validate that certain tasks have been completed, which means that the investigation can proceed.
This information is important if a supervisor wonders why an arrest hasn’t been made, or why a particular case has gone cold, they might want to know how many interviews were conducted.
With this software, law enforcement can go back into the case folder and see how many witnesses were interviewed.
With an added feature to the case management systems, the victim of a crime can get notified every two weeks on any updates on the investigation.
Case Management Software Combined with RMS and CAD Makes it Easy to Be Efficient
In general, case management software combined with a sophisticated RMS and CAD system helps to make an overall efficient law enforcement agency. These softwares have the potential to help save time by reducing the amount of paper they need to file and reduce the time spent looking for paperwork.
Case management software also allows law enforcement to quickly analyze case information.
Supervisors can more easily track caseloads and assign new tasks based off of what their officers are already working on – again, without having to read through pages and pages of narrative.
In addition, the officer will rely on the details in the CAD system to complete the report. This is true regardless of whether an arrest was made as accurate documentation of incidents is increasingly required. In the current example, the primary report-taking officer will include call times, locations, subjects, and the actions he or she took at the scene in their documentation. Any information not obtained from CAD will be included in the integrated RMS. This level of case management can be advantageous to the officer for presentation in court proceedings as well as to the victim for any restraining orders or other similar protective actions. Finally, the details of the entire case being included in the RMS and CAD systems stand to offer increased safety and better service capabilities for future incidents.
They Keep Everyone Courtroom Ready
When the case information is piled into one document, it becomes difficult for the reader to really understand the information. With case management software , the case is perfectly understood right after someone opens the case information.
In addition, when you read a specific case the document, the individual will know exactly how to read that information. Case management helps police officers and their agencies to make their case in the courtroom. Instead, the case is being updated every time more information is being inputted.
Regardless of which agency component is utilizing CAD in their case management, the supervisors of those respective units can also reap the benefits. In the 911 communication center, supervisors can manage personnel assignments and relief duties based on the call volume and the amount of attention an individual dispatcher will need to devote to a particular call for service. Patrol supervisors can use the integrated CAD and RMS to review active cases, assign additional tasks, and set due dates for investigative steps. CAD also allows supervisors to determine the number and types of cases handled by a particular employee as well as their dispositions. Being able to identify not only individual case assignments, but those made by precinct, shift, and day of the week, allow law enforcement managers to better plan for future staffing and budgetary needs.