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Heavy documentation calls for better police reporting technology

August 14, 2018  | 

Paperwork is keeping law enforcement officers away from the communities they serve, according to the result of a recent national survey. This is becoming a rising challenge with police departments, many of which are looking to increase visibility and keep more feet on the street.  

Officers want to spend less time on paperwork, more time on community service  

As the pressures intensify each year, with calls for more transparency and community involvement in policing, officers at every rank agree that, while the reports and other documentation they produce daily is important to help move criminal proceedings along, as with many other document-intensive jobs, there are concerns heavy reporting demands will overwhelm and create burn-out.

The survey of more than 12,000 police chiefs and their command staff found that 39 percent of respondents said they can spend 3-4 hours daily on incident reports and other-police paperwork. Furthermore, over 30 percent of officers surveyed said they are spending at least a quarter of their day at the station working on reports, versus being out and working in the community.

Overall, the collective agreement is that the time officers spend on incident reporting is removing them from other high value-tasks.

Police departments can give officer’s back time  

The good news, there are many new tools that can help give the valuable time back officers need to protect and serve. In law enforcement, in particular, new AI-powered speech recognition solutions are helping with one of the most important tasks officers spend hours on each day – completing incident reports.

Now, instead of typing by hand, officers can dictate an incident report, conduct common tasks – like a license plate lookup – using simple voice commands, or enter data into the CAD or RMS, all by voice. These new voice-powered tools also enable officers to work more safely, allowing them to stay heads-up and better maintain situational awareness while on patrol.

The basics behind AI-powered speech recognition  

Here’s a somewhat simple explanation for a complex technology. Speech recognition technology uses the human voice as the main interface between the user (the person speaking) and the computer (the machine that will automate the task of typing). It’s a highly sophisticated technology that leverages “language modeling” to recognize and differentiate among the millions of human utterances that make up any dialect. Using statistical models, speech recognition programs analyze an incoming stream of sound and interpret those sounds as commands and dictation.

Through machine learning, speech recognition systems learn each word individually as well as which word combinations typically occur. This means that it gets smarter the more it’s used, and it can differentiate between words like “marshal” and “martial” by understanding their context in a sentence.

Even more important, today’s advances in speech recognition mean it can study the way a specific user talks – learning their accent or the subtle nuances of their voice and deliver 99% accuracy. And with advanced features, new systems like, Dragon Law Enforcement, include customized language models to include words and phrases used by law enforcement.

Also, with background noise, a major factor in fields like policing, advances in AI technology mean it also knows to “ignore” ambient noise and focus specifically on the individual speaker.

Download the 2018 Role of Technology in Law Enforcement Paperwork Annual Report here.

To learn more on how voice-powered tools like speech recognition provide officers the time they need to better protect the communities they serve, without sacrificing accuracy and report timeliness, visit here.


Police Magazine