Making the Switch: The ROI of Going Mobile in Public Safety – A Four-Part Series

January 12, 2016 Paige Flanagan

Part One: How SceneDoc Improves Mobility and Data-Sharing for Public Safety

Evidence collection should be both swift and accurate, but for too long those goals have been mutually exclusive. Incredibly, today the process for most law enforcement agencies involves substantial amounts of time spent on trivial aspects such as rummaging through binders for the appropriate forms, switching between documenting devices, and driving from HQ-to-scene and back again to upload information.

Better planning and preparedness ultimately leads to better and faster response for agencies tasked with preventing or minimizing loss of life. Anything that can be done to speed up processes while maintaining or improving quality is especially valuable to government organizations.

However, in general, in most public safety agencies integrated communication systems do not exist. County and contractor resources are often deployed with limited information about the specifics of the incident. This creates bottlenecks in workflow, lack of coordination in response, and can lead to dangerous situations for responding personnel who are not properly prepared for the incident at hand.

These are exactly the issues we developed the SceneDoc platform to solve. SceneDoc creates opportunities for mobile data collection to be more than dashboard laptops and digital cameras. There is a potential for greater connectivity, and the end-result of good documentation is enhanced when paired with SceneDoc to tie systems together and move information seamlessly between technologies.

Moreover, SceneDoc increases efficiency of information movement, while decreasing the administrative burden of collecting information from the scene of an incident and transmitting it to affected communities, agencies and contractors. Using SceneDoc onsite enables public safety personnel to perform initial documentation on the nature of the incident and specific requirements for the response, then relay this frontline information in near real-time to supervisors in order to dispatch the closest assets and coordinate among various responding agencies.

By merging on-scene note-taking with after-incident report compilation, SceneDoc also speeds up the overall reporting process while reducing time and improving accuracy, because the report is written-up with the incident scene’s details in plain view.

Additionally, date/time and GPS location are automatically logged in the platform’s photo log to eliminate any potential errors, and all data is stored and transported using FIPS 140-2 certified Advanced Encryption Standards (AES-256).

Let’s take a look at a real world use case that underscores the above: the challenge for the Interstate Highway System has always been to determine the best use of resources when multiple state and local government agencies are involved in a response.

This is why Rockbridge County Emergency Management, Lexington Fire Department, and Montgomery County Emergency Management began a joint implementation in 2014, using mobile devices loaded with SceneDoc that allowed each department to collaborate on responses and communicate in near real time.

The ability to compile detailed reports while on scene saved RCEM coordinator Robert Foresman a great deal of time and hassle. “It used to take me an hour to take my field notes on a hazardous materials incident, and format them into an ICS-compliant (Incident Command System) report back at the office,” Foresman said. “By utilizing SceneDoc and the inherent real-time communication that comes with it, we’ve been able to cut this time, on average, to just 20 minutes per incident. Our iPads and iPhones have become invaluable.”

A real benefit was that all the agencies involved reported an 85 per cent decrease in processing time for documenting scenes, and a significant improvement in the quantity and quality of information being shared. Emergency Management (EM) office paperwork was completed with full documentation and final reports in 20-40 minutes, depending on severity of the incident. Other county agencies noted that the information obtained by the EM offices, particularly the photos, enabled them to quickly notify county and contractor assets, who were then able to dispatch exactly the right type and number of vehicles and equipment to each incident.

While we believe that the public safety market is ready to embrace mobile technology through devices such as smartphones and tablets, there are still major considerations that must be made by public safety agencies to validate and fund such a critical and game-changing shift in ideology. It is imperative that each agency identify use cases, research different options to identify devices that fit goals/needs, then pilot and operationalize to create a framework for usage.

If agencies are evaluating mobile infrastructure to simply make calls and email, then they are missing the big picture. The idea of public safety making a paradigm shift to “mobile first” is no longer a question of “if”, but rather “when”. For every challenge mobile adoption creates, it also opens the door of opportunity for public safety to close the productivity gap, reassess practices and procedures, boost efficiency, and renegotiate its relationship with the people it serves. Here at SceneDoc we will continue to rise to these challenge, meet these opportunities and continue to empower agencies as Public Safety’s Trusted Digital Notebook.

The post Making the Switch: The ROI of Going Mobile in Public Safety – A Four-Part Series appeared first on SceneDoc.


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