AT&T Technology Sponsorlogo

MY TECHNOLOGY CAN...Make Reporting Faster and More Accurate

Nuance's Dragon Law Enforcement speech recognition lets officers complete reports and other writing tasks three times faster—all by voice.

Dragon's speech-powered technology lets officers dictate their reports in real time instead of manually typing them.Dragon's speech-powered technology lets officers dictate their reports in real time instead of manually typing them.Photo: Nuance/Dragon Law Enforcement

Every day, officers face challenges when it comes to completing routine tasks like incident reports and other paperwork. Heavy documentation can become a burden and impact everything from community presence to  officer productivity, compliance, and even safety. Dragon Law Enforcement, our speech recognition technology, lets you complete incident reports in a faster, safer, and more accurate way—all by voice. It also helps you get back to what matters most, protecting and serving your communities.

The Problem

Law enforcement professionals face unique documentation demands. While incident reporting is vital to police work and helps move investigations and cases along, it is time-consuming. According to a recent national survey of police departments conducted by Nuance, nearly 40% of officers say they can spend as much as three to four hours a day on incident reporting and other paperwork. This means just about half of their day can be spent on documentation alone. And the hours spent on paperwork can take substantial time away from other high-value tasks like being visible in the communities officers serve.

However daunting, incident reporting is a critical part of the job and an incomplete or inaccurate report can affect criminal convictions, or worse, those that are not delivered in time can mean suspects go free. Unfortunately, many of today's current police reporting systems are difficult to operate, or officers are relying on their memory to complete reports, which makes it difficult to capture details and specifics of incidents that may have happened hours before. What's more, the difficulties in producing timely, thorough reports are exacerbated by the outdated functionality of current policing hardware.

Records management (RMS) and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems used by more than two thirds of departments are an integral part of police document workflows. There are problems, however, with these systems. For one thing, they can often be hard to navigate, and finding, entering, and extracting data takes multiple clicks, which wastes valuable time. Plus, many systems don't work with one another, which can slow or even halt the delivery of key information out into the field.

It's not just the mission-critical information or the high-profile cases that can be impacted. Standard operations, like traffic stops, which according to Stanford researchers occur more than 50,000 times a day across the country, task officers with a hefty reporting load. This is not only a serious time stealer but puts officers in situations that are uncomfortable at best, and hazardous at worst.

In their patrol vehicles, twisting and turning to enter information into the mobile data terminal (MDT), officers subject themselves to lower back, wrist, and neck pain that could compromise their agility or speed when it matters most. Beyond the discomfort, these legacy systems expose officers to potentially dangerous circumstances. Take a license plate lookup: officers can become distracted and lose sight of their surroundings. This can leave an officer susceptible to accidents and or even ambushes.

The Solution

Modern police reporting technology is taking off as hundreds of departments are looking for ways to enhance their existing tools and help officers work smarter, not harder. Speech recognition technology is a solution that many agencies are using or now starting to consider as they work to transform their reporting workflows.

Nuance's Dragon Law Enforcement, which is tailored specifically for the public safety sector, provides a faster and more accurate way to safely and more conveniently improve daily reporting and documentation demands, speed data entry into the RMS, and conduct common lookup tasks like license plate and warrant searches—all by voice. 

For most people, talking is the most natural and efficient way to communicate ideas. And since speaking helps not only capture details but also a narrative of an event, it's ideal for police work. Dragon's speech-powered technology lets officers dictate their reports in real time instead of manually typing them. A report that takes one hour to complete can be dictated within minutes when the details of an incident are top of mind. And since Dragon is customized for law enforcement, it includes jargon and abbreviations specific to police work. It can also be customized to a particular agency, so officers can be confident in the reports they are creating. Officers can also document license plate lookups, for example, just by saying "Alpha Bravo Charlie 123" and Dragon interprets this as license plate "ABC123." With Dragon, accuracy and speed don't have to be mutually exclusive.

By integrating Dragon into an agency's CAD or RMS system, departments can also improve in-car documentation and safety while officers are stationary in their patrol vehicles. Entering and looking up data by voice not only supports better ergonomics, but it keeps officers "heads up" and more situationally aware.

And because Dragon can be integrated within standard police technology systems, it helps move along mission-critical information, connecting officers, dispatchers, and support staff to the scene of an emergency that much quicker. By adopting a seamless end-to-end solution, agencies are set up to operate with maximum efficiency, resulting in lowered transcription costs and major return on investment.

Case Study

A large highway patrol agency in the Midwest realized a surge in productivity and report timeliness through adoption of Dragon Law Enforcement.

The department's leaders wanted to improve the incident reporting process to keep up with increasing demands at the state and federal level. The agency's existing reporting process was convoluted and involved too many middle men. Troopers would create an audio file documenting an incident then transmit the file to an administrative team for transcription. After transcription it was then returned back to the trooper for proofreading, then assuming no further corrections, the officer submitted the document into the RMS. Given the volume of reports to complete each day, the manual process was not only inefficient, it delayed access to key information.

The department deployed Dragon Law Enforcement to streamline the incident reporting process. Troopers reduced report turnaround by almost 50% or one to two hours, and they delivered higher quality reports to prosecutors.

Mark Geremia is vice president and general manager for Dragon Professional and Consumer.

About the Author