September 29, 2021 by Flynn Nogueira

Community Engagement and Online Submissions

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Industries: 9-1-1 & Law Enforcement

Topics: Command Center Software CAD Intelligence-led Policing NG9-1-1 PSAPs Public Safety Applications Records and Evidence SaaS

A Mobile Experience

We live in an age of mobility. You rarely see people who aren’t glued to their mobile device. 

For many of us, if the task can’t be done on our mobile device, it’s inconvenient; it takes more time than it should or it’s just plain bothersome. 

In the case of the public submitting forms to law enforcement, it’s no different. The public wants to use their mobile device to engage with their agency. When the agency offers the public self-service options, like completing forms online, it creates a powerful convenience factor and opens the opportunity for collaboration between the public and their agency.  

But without a single, intuitive touchpoint between the public and public safety, the effort and energy it takes the public to complete a form or provide tips for an investigation, can keep valuable information from being shared.

Bridging the Gap

Motorola Solutions is bridging the gap between the public and public safety with CommandCentral Community, a collection of software applications, also known as the Community tools, that gives agencies a single touchpoint for building communications, collaboration and transparency with the community they serve. In this blog, we focus on one of the Community tools, Online Submissions.

Online Submissions

Accessible to the public from any device, Online Submissions offers the public an easy way to submit non-emergency requests to public safety personnel while reducing phone and in person inquiries. The public is empowered to get their requests fulfilled, at their convenience, and the agency maintains high service quality. Motorola Solutions offers both standard and customized forms for non-emergency incidents and routine requests.

CityProtect

CityProtectThe public accesses and submits the forms through a common platform, CityProtect, where the Community tools are housed. With a subscription to the Community tools, the agency is automatically provided with their own customizable page on CityProtect creating the foundation for a consistent, collaborative presence in the community. The agency has full control over which Community tools they offer to the community. 

Let’s look at a couple of examples. 

A citizen’s car windows are broken and the citizen needs a police report number in order to submit an insurance claim. Rather than going to the police station or calling the station to tie up an officer, the individual can look up the agency on CityProtect, go to the agency’s page, pull up the form they need and complete it from his mobile device. In addition, the agency could provide self-service kiosks to access CityProtect in the lobby, freeing up lobby employees to assist other citizens.

Another example for Online Submissions is Anonymous Tipping, which enables members of the public to easily and anonymously share information. When a member of the public has information to report, he or she goes to the agency’s page on CityProtect, accesses the anonymous tipping form and completes it. Once the tip is submitted, the agency can send additional questions to the tipster and provide them with the option to engage in a two-way text dialog.

Integration with Motorola Solutions Software

One of the key benefits of the Community tools is the integration with Motorola Solutions’ cloud and on-premises systems. This integration reduces steps, saves time and increases efficiency. For example, details from online submissions can be correlated with existing cases, reducing the need for multiple data sources, or they can become cases in their own right. In the case of the broken windows, once the form is submitted, it is linked to Motorola Solutions’ incident records and displayed on the Consolidated Records View for PremierOne or Spillman Flex CAD or CommandCentral CAD. 

Efficiency and Accuracy

In the public safety sector, when efficiency and accuracy are of the highest priority, there is a narrow margin for error and wasted time. However, it is estimated that any given officer or records specialist spends 20-40% of their time writing or correcting incident reports. These corrections can span several days or weeks depending on shift and availability of involved parties. Agencies frequently spend large amounts of time every week reviewing duplicates and merging records using imperfect methods which result in orphaned data, tedious multi-step repetition, and frustrating time consumption.

Adding to this data dilemma, research shows that agencies report information from citizens is rejected for typos, incorrect city or jurisdiction entry or flawed priority, for example, when an incident is in progress. 

Kylene Tanner, the Product Manager for CommandCentral Community, with over 25 years of experience in data analysis and product implementation, says, “building a tool for a mobile experience requires extensive thought. Because these screens are small, and data entry methods are less efficient than keyboards, we need to simplify the experience. And, a simpler interface means the form can be used for a wider variety of situations, depending on the agency’s needs.” 

Kylene explains that a form which is complex, and which may require law enforcement knowledge is one which has a low chance of an accurate completion rate, and can actually result in more time for employees to correct. “The average person doesn’t know what the right terminology is for the different incident types and given the seriousness of the warning against filing a false report, it frightens many away. The technical differences between things like property damage and vandalism may be clear to agency employees, but it adds stress to the average member of the public who doesn’t want to pick wrong terms.” 

Instead of adding more stress to the public’s experience, Motorola’s approach is to provide the public a positive experience that builds confidence in completing the forms where the forms are easy to use – adding to the benefit of the mobile convenience factor.  Additionally, we offer agency personnel the opportunity to catch data mismatches and errors before they are entered into the agency’s master tables. Once reviewed, the data is added to the incident record following the data entry rules for the agency.  Plus, Online Submissions preserves the original submission record from the citizen to enable future reference.

As a result, the public experiences satisfaction and appreciation they associate with the agency. 

For the agency, the mountain of duplicates and errors that need to be corrected is reduced which means the agency can produce clearer, cleaner reports from the start and not have to go back, after the fact and make the corrections. 

Learn how you can connect the public you serve to public safety. Begin building transparency and partnership with your community today. 

Learn more about Community Engagement.

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