In a dynamically changing environment, safety agencies are under pressure for more active policing.
Welcome to HXGN radio, I’m your host Jim Dobbs. Records management systems are fundamental to law enforcement. They serve agency-wide needs, aiding operations, case management, investigations and more. In a dynamically changing IT and operational environment, agencies must ensure their information management systems deliver critical information wherever needed. In today’s episode we’re talking to Jamie Algatt who is product manager for law enforcement records management and public safety reporting products at Hexagon safety and infrastructure. Thanks for joining us today Jamie.
JA: Thanks for having me.
JD: Some of our listeners may not be familiar with law enforcement records management systems. Could you please explain the role that RMS plays in policing?
JA: Sure Jim. The records management systems really provide an enterprise wide solution to capture a lot of the daily reporting and information that agencies capture through investigations, traffic accident reporting, citations, and a lot of the other peripheral types of solutions that an agency needs. So that can be asset management, employee management, even permits and licensing. So really records is the main way that the law enforcement agency captures information that they can then subsequently use for intelligence and reporting. It’s extremely valuable in this day and age where big data is such a key role in public safety and specifically law enforcement.
JD: So you’re product manager, what products do you manage when it comes to RMS?
JA: As a product manager, I am responsible for all of our legacy records management systems, but most importantly the web based, web RMS system that we now offer. That application offers a cloud based solution, it can be on-premise or of course the hosted solution that’s available. And it really provides accessibility from anywhere through a standard web browser. There’s no client software to install which is really great from an administrative standpoint.
JD: Agencies are under pressure for various reasons but one of them is to be more proactive in their policing, so where does this sort of product you’re talking about fit in?
JA: It empowers the agency and more importantly the line level users to have information access now at a field level, where historically they were required with a client software to be tied to a vehicle or have to come back to the station and sit down at a district station or maybe a local post that they were on. So now this gives the opportunity to extend out the use of the system. We also see it being extended out to your non-traditional users, typically homicide investigators or vice narcotics officers. They didn’t have access to records. They had to go back to the station in their investigative unit each time. That extension of the solution provides information to our users, it provides them the ability to make smarter more informed decisions at the field level.
JD: Let me latch on to one of those areas. You said investigators, that’s sort of a new option for investigators RMS systems. Can you talk about that a little bit?
JA: Obviously the ability for the investigators to have that information is key. Some investigations can be extremely complex, really surround a lot of people that are involved, lot of extensive amount of evidence, data capture and really extending web RMS out there to have access to information on a major crime scene is so important. We can find information, we can document information much more quickly and it provides the ability obviously to solve crimes. That’s really what an agency needs to do. They want to be able to solve crimes and keep the community safe.
JD: You had mentioned field situational awareness as an important issue for field officers, sending and receiving information. So what’s being done in that area to address field access to information?
JA: Obviously the web RMS is just the beginning of that but the existing business intelligence application provides the ability to extend information and see that visually through simple charts, graphs, but more complex trend analysis and historical reference and comparisons. We have some new products that are in line which is the insight reporting application which I’m responsible for. Also the inside analytic solutions that are forthcoming. Jack Williams, one of the other product managers is responsible for those. We’re really seeing a marrying of all that huge data that we’re getting and being able to quickly present it back out to end users. So they make informed decisions through structured data. And it also provides them the ability to sort of slice and dice that information. Segment out certain criteria and apply filters to the data so they can rationalize what’s happening. Where is it happening? What time of the day, what day of the week? And start to get a real accurate picture of where they need their resources in turn that helps the system administrators and of course the command staff and supervisory staff to align their resources to combat where the problem is happening and when.
JD: So Jim you mentioned the marrying of reporting and analytics and RMS and it sounds like the silos4:52 between different information systems are kind of coming down and it’s maybe a transformation of the command center and operations. So what’s the latest on those sort of trends?
JA: It’s a key point. Business intelligence for us as Hexagon Safety and Infrastructure was just the beginning. The key thing is we’re not just seeing a trend within public safety but industry wide and it’s from corporate to banking, that embedding analytics and having that information married with your solutions rather than having to navigate this solution for that, and this solution for that functionality. We see all that information being presented back to the end user. We’re seeing that trend also in our CAD solutions that are being deployed. This is a key transition for the industry but also in general across technology. I think it’s really good that we’re staying at the forefront of that concept.
JD: Speaking of out transformations, cloud is a big transformation that’s impacting a lot of industries. It’s something public safety industries are looking at now, cloud plus mobile. What’s going on in that field in regards to RMS system?
JA: That’s a big industry trend. It’s definitely a trend that 5,6,7 years ago was not something that was really going to be or didn’t appear to be acceptable to public safety market. In working with
companies, we’ve worked very strategically with Microsoft over the years, we have a good partnership with them. Microsoft deploys an…6:16 cloud. It’s …?6:18 compliant, it’s fed-ram compliant, we have a good secured storage of data and the information in the cloud, and that provides a very acceptable solution to our end users where typically and historically there’s a lot of concern about security. Obviously when you’re dealing with personal information, arrest and sometimes even intelligence data. That’s critical. So we work towards having a very secured solution. We provide that through a cloud based and potentially hosted solution. We’re working closely with vendors like Microsoft so we can deliver a managed type solution that’s very acceptable to our end user community. It provides a very cost-effective solution. The other key thing about that as you mentioned, the ability to extend mobility of the application and extend the use to the field is now available. We’re easily able to access web RMS from literally anywhere. A chief can be at a chiefs of police conference in San Diego and they can look at information going on back at their agency on the east coast. It’s a very valuable solution further extending mobility.
JD: If it’s something that’s benefiting from the chief down to the officer in the field to investigators, it sounds like it’s a real end-to-end efficiency dynamic that we’re talking about, that the right type of RMS deployed correctly can help to achieve. Is that really the end goal?
JA: You’re absolutely right. Obviously the big thing is more efficiency, and of course lower the cost. We realize that agencies are dealing with continued budget constraints and resource constraints, and any way that we can improve their operations to become smarter and more efficient, that’s obviously the value of this solution.
JD: You talked about cloud deployments or things like RMS being a new tool for investigators, sounds like there’s a healthy amount of change management when it comes to a department either ripping and replacing something older, implementing something new that they’ve never had before. What are some tips for a department who’s thinking about going through this sort of transition?
JA: I think the biggest thing we learned speaking with our member agencies who have made that transformation, whether it be a substantially old legacy main frame system or maybe they’re on their second or third iration8:21 of a client-based records system. It’s really understanding
that this gives them the opportunity to improve some of their workflows, to leverage the application and some of its automated features, to really decide and make some key changes in how they operate. Likewise we learn from those experiences as well. Hexagon safety and infrastructure is investing a significant amount of resources and RND8:45 into the web RMS application. We continue to mature that solution and as we get feedback of how the application can change to be more improved, we’re implementing that in our next release versions and sometimes even providing backwards compatibility of those new key features. We want to make sure that our user community is very happy with that application, that we meet their workflow needs, that they’re able to utilize this solution to become much more efficient.
JD: That’s really great information, I’m sure for the public safety audience. Jamie Algatt we appreciate your time today and thank you for being our guest.
To our listeners you can learn more about our public safety solutions at www.hexagonsi.com. Tune into more episodes from HXGN radio on iTunes, SoundCloud, or Stitcher Radio. Thanks for listening.