Agency Shares Tips for New Technology

March 23, 2021 by Devin Culham

Agency Shares Tips for New Technology

Across the country, public safety agencies are looking for software solutions that help alleviate stress, free up resources, and, of course, help make communities safer.

Your agency, like countless others, has unique circumstances. Your community and public safety organization don't need a one-size-fits-all "solution" — you want a software system that responds to your agency's individual needs.

State of Maine Judicial Marshal Mike Coty knows what it's like to navigate technology upgrades for a public safety agency that's anything but ordinary. As duly authorized law enforcement officers for the state court system, Mike and his team are responsible for overseeing Maine's 32 judicial courts' public safety.

After a year of fine-tuning the Maine Judicial Branch's (MJB) new record management solution, Coty shared a few critical insights public safety agencies should consider when shopping for a new technology solution.

"I guess the biggest thing I would say is to sit down and determine what your needs are and determine exactly how you want to see that," shared Coty.

For Coty, finding a record management solution configurable to meet courts' needs and public safety was paramount. Previously, the MJB managed all its records manually, often using a mix of Excel sheets and physical file folders.

"One of the things that we tried very hard to do was make sure that the information we were providing to the chief justice and state court administrator were the same things we'd been collecting all along," said Coty.

According to Coty, another key component is data.

Expressing what data you want to collect – and how you're going to collect it – are crucial for successfully implementing a software solution. It's important to consider current requirements for data-sharing and who will be collecting data.

"Making the record management system user-friendly required us to define fields in a way that users can understand, but also make sure to configure mandatory fields," said Coty. "The mandatory fields force users to put information in, that on a manual system, they didn't have to include. We were forever going back to get that information."

For Coty, it's essential to go beyond what your agency needs today. Instead, he suggests agencies map out what you want the software to help you accomplish in the future.

"If I was talking to another law enforcement agency, what I would tell them is to determine what you need now and determine what you think you're going to need in the future," advised Coty. "Develop your fields and your forms to collect data that you can develop into reports somewhere down the road."

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