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How to Migrate to a New Records Management System for Law Enforcement

There comes a time in every law enforcement organization when the need for a new records management system (RMS) will arise. Whether integrated with 911 dispatch software, an EMS dispatch system, computer-aided dispatch (CAD) in law enforcement, or any combination of computer-aided dispatch software, a modern records management system is vital to public safety organizations. It may be an upgrade from a system which involved pen, paper, scanning, and a fax machine. It could be that an agency has simply outgrown their old software-based system. Regardless, 10-8 Systems has a solution to help any organization successfully migrate to their state-of-the-art law enforcement records management software.  

Cost is of course a consideration and will vary based on the size and needs of an organization. For example, dispatch software for a security business may be vastly different from what a fire station software may need. However, beyond budgeting, let’s take a look at three of the most common questions decision makers ask when moving from an older system to updated records management software. 

1. Will a new law enforcement records management system meet our needs?

Most public safety administrators actually know the answer to this question. Updated technology will undoubtedly improve operations. However, concern about the unknown leads to questions of rationalization such as, “isn’t our current system working fine?” Again, trepidation about the process of change, rather than the improvements the change will bring, is likely the motivation behind this type of question. 

One of the first steps in determining if a new law enforcement records management system will meet an agency’s needs is to identify those needs.  Administrators and records custodians are right to not only desire, but demand that any new software system have the means to preserve historical data. This is a common need of public service agencies and one that will be a part of any effective transition. 

The continuity of operation is also a justifiable need when upgrading a records management system.  The use of computer-aided dispatching software, CAD systems in law enforcement, EMS dispatch software, and other public safety technologies must remain operational during the transition.  The implementation of a superior quality, multi-faceted records management system is not meant to change the operational mission of an organization, even temporarily. Instead, the goal is to improve functionality, enhance data management, and increase productivity. 

The interoperability of records management systems with a cloud-based mobile software technology is essential for nearly any public service provider. The ability to collect data from each component of the system, administer its storage, and make it accessible when and where it is needed, is the cornerstone of digital information management. Improving incident reports, activity logs, master name checks, and crime analysis represent only a few of the examples of the total adaptation process 10-8 Systems can provide.  The migration from most existing systems can be done in a matter of days, reducing downtime and getting organizations back business. 

2. How will the migration of a new records management impact the law enforcement organization?

Paraphrased here but a common sentiment in the workplace, “the only thing people dislike more than the way things are now, is change.” Of course, that is not the case for all change and there are many factors which can aid personnel in embracing the transition to a new law enforcement records management system. One of the first steps is to plan for the transition. This includes communicating with and incorporating representatives from various components within an organization.  People are far more likely to accept, perhaps even welcome, change if they played a role in the process. Identifying key personnel who can be trained in both the migration procedure and the functionality of the new system, can have a positive ripple effect throughout the workforce. 

Whether an organization is moving from a primarily paper system or it is time to upgrade outdated software, working with the team at 10-8 Systems can make the transition as seamless as possible. Using a combination of migration specific software and a customized training curriculum, a new law enforcement records management system will include features important to any mission. For instance, a single-entry function with police intelligence software enchances case management capabilities reduces redundancy in data entry. Related case reports, calls for service, subject information, and vehicles details are automatically linked. Additionally, through the AgencyLink feature, partner organizations can add calls for service, request information, include comments, and cancel requests, all from a web portal. AgencyLink accounts are managed by the 10-8 Systems client and full control over partner organizations’ access is at their discretion.   

3. How will the members of our agency contend with the transition? 

Once an initial transition and training team has been established, it will be time to spread the word. As previously noted, getting input from future users of the system will go a long way in the success of its implementation.  A question posed by most users is certain to be a form of, “what’s in it for me?” The short answer is less mundane and repetitive work and more productivity. For example, for the patrol officer, a robust master name index translates to a reduction in data entry and more time catching criminals. For the detective, learning the intricacies of a sophisticated law enforcement records management system can put a wealth of information at their fingertips. Armed with detailed data, investigators are able to better build a case and ultimately solve crime. 

Staff utilizing the linked 911 dispatch software can customize their dashboard and avoid a one size fits all approach. Dispatchers will also appreciate the mapping interface allowing geocoding of addresses and automatic cross street notification. Finally, members of the records section can easily create daily activity logs, NIBRIS style crime reports, and include integration with local, state, and federal databases. For all of these agency members, and more, the buy-in comes when doing their job becomes easier and increased productivity serves as its own motivator.         

The implementation of a fully responsive web application law enforcement records management system is the future of data management. Accessing information critical to an organization’s mission from any internet capable device (phone, tablet, computer, etc.) is the proverbial game changer. Being fully adaptable to future technologies, 10-8 Systems is the catalyst for positive change. 


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