They say hindsight is 20-20 and frankly, it’s hard to argue that it isn’t true. We know from experience that if we can anticipate the outcome of a situation, we’re likely to handle it much better overall. For Law Enforcement, information is power. It’s also safety. And security.
In the simplest terms, risk management is defined as a process for managing the risks you can identify. It involves identifying the level of exposure to risk and determining the best way to eliminate or at least minimize the exposure to those risks. But the process doesn’t stop there. Once a decision is made, it should be measured and monitored – enabling us to use that data to manage similar situations more effectively in the future.
I ran across a quote a while back (can’t remember who said it, sorry!) that said, “Knowing our risks provides opportunities to manage and improve our chances of success.” This is true. And with the advent of technology, we now have available resources that can turn our collection of data into information we can use in practical situations. Kind of like a GPS system that knows where the construction is (or if you live in PA, where the construction isn’t J). In Law Enforcement, administrators are responsible for managing the daily activities of officers; this may include hundreds of interactions with the public that would need to be tracked. By collecting data on, and management of, these interactions, administrators are able to provide proper future direction – direction that, in turn, leads to minimized risks and increased safety to Officers and the public.
How can we minimize risk?
Experiences of the past help us manage situations in the future. We may even be better equipped to predict the frequency of a situation, simply based on the history of those experiences. In Law Enforcement, this kind of insight can mean major cost savings and workforce productivity boosters – not to mention life-saving! The availability of a data visualization tool that can help administrators analyze past activities in order to better manage future interactions provides a strong infrastructure for success.
Access to relevant data improves awareness and safety for the Officer on duty. It also allows other Officers on patrol to prioritize their activities. Analysis of this data (including visual mapping) allows the user to identify specific trends, consistent patterns and any changes in targeted areas. As trends and patterns change, users are able to monitor occurrences and respond accordingly.
A good example of how this solution works would be a police department that uses a data analysis and visualization tool to track police interactions with the public. This could range from routine traffic stops to criminal arrests. Recording the time, location, and types of activities allow administrators to see the big picture based on the crime or the communities where these incidences are occurring. If certain patterns or levels of frequency bring about concern, considerations can then be made when it comes to determining the number of resources being deployed to those areas during the time of day these incidences may be occurring – right down to the day of the week. It can get as granular as it needs to be if the right data is being collected.
How does an automated system manage risk for us?
We already know that computers work much faster than people do. So the ability to take bits of critical data and formulate that data into useful information is something that software programs can do in a matter of seconds. The result? Increased efficiencies in process flow, resource allocation, and interactions. The more an Officer knows about a situation, the better equipped they will be at handling it. For example, if an Officer understands the criminal history of a person (or the lack thereof), it will make a difference in how the situation is handled. For an Officer on the beat, the ability to retrieve this kind of data through a mobile device like Honeywell’s Dolphin™ 70e Black makes it even easier for them. This slim, sleek unit is easy to use and convenient to carry. It was designed to withstand drops to concrete, dust and water sprays, and operates just like a Smartphone. It takes pictures and even has a built-in barcode scanner to make license scanning easy. When split-second decisions are informed decisions, the chances of the outcome being a safe and effective one are much more likely.