Everyone knows filling out forms is not the most exciting part of police work, but it still needs to get done as accurately as possible. That's why Spillman Technologies enhanced its Mobile software solution to make the task as efficient and painless as possible for officers out on patrol.
To develop the new Mobile 4.5, Spillman worked closely with dozens of agencies across the country to research how they were using their existing Mobile solution to write and submit reports, including the detailed processes involved at each agency. The company found that while most agencies require similar data, they don't all have the same needs.
"The solution that we built allows agencies to collect that core data set that's really important to everyone, but it also lets them customize our solution so they can collect the [types of data] that are unique and important to their agency," explains Ben Godfrey, research and development manager at Spillman Technologies.
Another improvement is the ease with which officers can fill out forms. Drop-down menus simplify tasks and limit entry errors. But even more helpful is a process by which officers can simply populate forms with information collected from the state such as vehicle registration query responses or data a dispatcher entered into the system.
Spillman's Automated Field Reporting modules include the Mobile Law Form, designed to help capture incident details at the scene; the Mobile Citation Form, created to quickly issue citations; Law Field Interviews and Fire Field Interviews, which help gather thorough interview data; and the Mobile Accident Form, which enables officers to record accident data on site and meet Model Minimum Uniform Crash Criteria (MMUCC).
"We give them the capability to very quickly, with one click, populate the forms that they're filling out in the field," says Godfrey. "So it takes them less time and they can move to a place that's safer and then get back on the road."
This system can also be used to populate forms with information collected from a driver's license via the Driver License Scanning module, compatible with a wide variety of readers. The ability to capture this data with a simple scan is a brand new addition to Spillman's Mobile.
"We implemented the AAMVA (American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators) standards for barcodes and mag stripes on licenses, and although every state does something unique, our system is able to scan licenses from all across the country," says Godfrey.
Of course, police officers do more than enter information on forms. They often must search records for details regarding names, vehicles, and property while in the field to better assess a situation and respond to an incident. With 20 additional record types that can be queried and viewed by field officers, Mobile 4.5 makes this search much easier.
"Now, we can look up anything from traffic accidents, citations, warnings, to haz-mat records, a fire, EMS, you name it," says Godfrey. "Anything in the Spillman system you can get to just by running a query out there in the vehicle."
To be sure all of the data collected is protected, even within an agency, Mobile 4.5 maintains Spillman Sentryx viewing privileges. Images that have been hidden or restricted can only be accessed by Mobile users with viewing privileges. For Spillman's Voiceless Dispatch module, dispatch centers that work with multiple agencies can allow each agency to only view calls in their respective zones, for example.
For all of these tech-heavy software improvements, one aspect of Mobile 4.5 that will be immediately appreciated by officers is a new night mode. "The color scheme is dimmed down and it's optimized for low-light conditions," says Godfrey. "It just makes it easier to read and less distracting for an officer cruising at night." And ease of use is what Spillman's Mobile 4.5 is all about.