Everyone is talking about leveraging technology to address problems that have only been theorized about until now. For good reason. Technology promises and actually is speaking into the productivity and efficiency gaps that this post-recovery era so needs. But before investing in a technology solution, be sure to do your own investigation to ensure the technology you’re evaluating matches your organizational needs.
Two common reasons police departments don’t’ adopt technology are budget constraints and public opinion, but a third reason that isn’t discussed as much is simply a lack of knowledge. What steps will I need to go through to learn this technology? Who all will I need to train? Will it be effective in a few years? How much will upgrades run us? The list of possible questions runs on and on.
So we’ve compiled a list of tips that we recommend you follow when it comes time to evaluating the purchase of new equipment.
- Research Technology Needs: Start off by identifying what the needs of your department are. Are you looking at a laptop solution or a tablet solution for your police force?
- Test the Options: You will want to see how the different options actually work either in forces that have similar settings as yours or in your own if possible. Take advantage of demos that organizations like iRecord offer, and get feedback from those in the field on how functional, efficient, productive they can be with the device in mind.
- Bidding: If you’ve narrowed down your best options to a few vendors, you’re ready for the bidding stage. Don’t throw out the highest priced vendor—sometimes the highest quality, best fit products come at a higher price for a reason. Talk to your vendor about options to trade a current system, for example a current digital recording system for an upgrade and gain cost savings in that way.
- Purchasing: Make sure to discuss what purchasing entails. How many documents will need to be signed and by when. Have your lawyer if you retain one, look over the documents as well. Keep a copy on file for future reference.
- Installation: Discuss in depth what both installation and implementation will look like and any impact to workflow in the office your department might experience. Are there any ways to reduce disruption? Can you have the system installed over the weekend?
- Implementation: As well as discussing potential impact to daily operations, discuss who need to be present at the implementation and whether you will need to inform any others your department works with in the community about your equipment for purposes of seamless collaboration on any partnered activities.
- Impact of Future Changes: If you do have to make changes down the road, will that alter protocol or require a new policy to be written? Will this lead to additional training needs? As your vendor what other departments have discovered with their equipment.
- Training: How simple will the new equipment, system, software, etc. that you purchase be to use from your executive to your lowest on the totem pole. For example, iRecord’s system’s one-touch technology is so simple that “your mom could use it.”
To sum up, when you’re trying to make a decision about new technology in your department, it’s important to make sure that you do four things:
- Get the knowledge You need
- Identify the technology solutions your agency needs
- Budget for those items
- Explain to your community and the public why you have adopted the solutions you have.
The last thing you want to do is assume that any technology is a good fit for your department—even though technology may be a solution that fits all, customizing the right technology for your needs will provide your department the greatest return on investment both when it comes to your budget and keeping your communities safer.
Talk to us if you’re interested in learning more about iRecord’s products.