Building a Safer City Through Efficient, Integrated Technology

Industry: Public Safety
Location: Mobile, Alabama
Number of Employees: About 2,650
Population: 194,899
Tyler Client Since: 2015
Product Used: Incode Public Safety, Incode Court, Tyler Cashiering, Tyler Content Manager, Online Record Search, Munis, EnerGov

Answering the Call

Sandy Stimpson, the mayor of Mobile, Alabama, campaigned in 2014 with a simple goal — to make Mobile the most business friendly, most family friendly and safest city in America by 2020. To help Stimpson reach that goal, the Mobile Police Department needed to become more efficient and more integrated.

"We wanted to get rid of paper and make everything accessible electronically," said Sue Farni, executive director of information technology for the City of Mobile. "We wanted more integration between the courts and police."

Finding the Right Solution

Farni and others within the City of Mobile evaluated several options for public safety software, but their decision boiled down to finding a single vendor that offered the most integrated solution on the market.

"We wanted to find a vendor that could meet all our needs," said Farni. "We wanted that integration. We wanted one company that was solid, that we could go to if we had problems and not have to decide who would be responsible for whatever the issue was."

We wanted to find a vendor that could meet all our needs. We wanted that integration. We wanted one company that was solid, that we could go to if we had problems and not have to decide who would be responsible for whatever the issue was.

Sue Farni

Executive Director of Information Technology, City of Mobile, Alabama

The City of Mobile didn't want to rely on an option that didn't suit their needs.

"We didn't have any desire to get back into tier one with a commercial application that was retrofitted to government and was probably never a good fit," Farni said.

While evaluating their options, the City of Mobile recognized that their warrant process was causing issues for both officers and court clerks. Even with the records department staying open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it still took two or three days between initial arrest and cleared warrant. Ultimately, the City of Mobile chose Incode® to streamline its processes and reduce paperwork.

"Incode public safety and its communication between Incode Court started our brainstorm," said Tracy Wood, business process analyst for the City of Mobile. "We wanted an easier way to process warrants to prevent accidental arrests and warrants taking so long to clear. Since both Court and public safety are on parallel, we didn't have to pay extra subscription costs for our officers. We created accounts in Incode and gave them access to go and confirm the warrants."

Thanks to the efficiency of Incode and the elimination of data entry tasks, the records department now operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Farni said the software also helped Mobile reduce human error."If a warrant was misfiled, we might not apprehend someone who should be in jail," she said. "Now it's all electronic. The officer can go in and find out if there's a warrant, and all of that is handled electronically by dispatch. The warrant is automatically sent to the jail through Tyler Content Manager™, so there's not paper the officer has to take with him. It's pretty efficient."

Safer and More Efficient

Before Incode, officers had to take suspects with them to the magistrate's office, remove them from the vehicle and bring them inside to do paperwork. Now, the software handles all the paperwork so officers can take suspects directly to jail without having to risk their safety and the safety of other city employees.

"It was quite an interesting situation," said Farni. "The software has dramatically improved safety."

Wood said the software is also improving safety out in the field by bringing warrant information to patrol vehicles more quickly.

"We're reducing officer risk, because when they had someone pulled over and they were confirming a warrant, it could be 30 minutes or longer to locate the paperwork," said Wood. "Meanwhile, if the person pulled over was a violent offender, your officer would be sitting there at risk."

Farni believes that the new and more efficient system is already making Mobile a safer place for its citizens. "It's not just officer safety, but citizen safety," she said.

"Electronic records move quickly. We can get people with warrants off the street more quickly." Opening up the system to officers has empowered the Mobile police force by giving them direct access to important records.

"Should the communications person be busy, the police officer has the ability to check the warrant," said Wood. "We've opened it up to both police and communications and made it much safer."

Further Integration with the Court

In addition to warrant access, Mobile police officers have also benefitted from the notifications system within Incode Court.

"Incode Court sends out auto-notification via email to our officers to remind them about court dates, and that's helped in getting them to court," said Farni. "We have had a really good decrease in missing officers in court, and we're now in the process of implementing the officer scheduling part of Incode, which is where we'll really see a huge difference. That's our next step."

Some of the integrations between Incode court and Incode public safety have come in surprising ways, thanks to the software's ability to take payments and adjudicate cases.

"We actually moved a teller window to a precinct so people don't all have to come to the same part of town to pay," said Farni.

Thanks to Incode, no matter where citizens go to pay, they'll find shorter at the cashiering window.

"Now that we have electronic case files, our windows have moved closer to the door where people come in," said Farni. "Each person is saving approximately 45 minutes by not having to go through security and wait upstairs. That's been a tremendous benefit to the city to reduce those lines and help them handle cases quickly."

Conclusion

With Incode public safety and Incode Court working together, the City of Mobile is closer to its goal to become the safest city in the nation by 2020.

Case Study Highlights

  • A single vendor that offered integration proved to be a valuable partner
  • New efficiencies and the elimination of manual data entry reduced overtime in the records department
  • Software handles all the paperwork so officers can take suspects directly to jail without having to risk their safety and the safety of other city employees

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