Law enforcement isn’t all about investigating crimes and tracking down criminals. Policing involves filling out and processing a lot of paperwork. The 2019 Role of Technology in Law Enforcement Paperwork Annual Report found that police officers devote three or more hours per shift to paperwork.
The more time police officers spend on paperwork, the less time they have on the streets. To cut down on the time consumed by processing records, law enforcement agencies have begun to use intelligent automation (IA) so officers can dedicate more of their shifts to working in the community and fighting crime.
Opportunities for intelligent automation in law enforcement
Like any type of organization, law enforcement agencies can develop an automation strategy by identifying opportunities for IA. Opportunities for automation include points in workflows that create bottlenecks. Processing paperwork involves simple, time-consuming, and repetitive tasks accomplished by several people, making it ideal for IA.
For the Sheriff’s Office in Collin County, Texas, inmate processing was slowing down the corrections system. The population in Collin County is over a million citizens, meaning it experiences a significant amount of crime. The Sheriff Office’s goal was to speed up inmate processing and get officers back on the street quickly so they can continue to protect and serve.
At the time of an arrest, critical personal and charges data about the arrestee was manually entered into the officer’s onboard cruiser software. Upon arrival at the jailhouse, the officer then manually transferred the same data into the jail’s system as part of the end-to-end booking process. The two systems must be isolated for security and compliance purposes.
Entering and re-entering information extends the amount of time spent processing perpetrators. The time spent by the officer at the jailhouse can range anywhere from 45 minutes to 2 hours per booking.
Other opportunities for IA in law enforcement include:
- Penalty Processing
- Intelligence Reporting
- Crime Reporting
- Firearms License Processing
- Evidence Processing
How IA works in law enforcement
By leveraging Blue Prism, a digital worker at a law enforcement agency can transfer data from one system to the next in a secure and compliant manner. For example, in Collin County, the digital worker gathers the data in real time from the cruiser system, and then completes the transfer of data to the jailhouse system.
This process creates the arrest entry with pertinent information and issues a notification to the jailhouse clerk that an arrestee is now on the way. The jailhouse clerk can take advantage of the lead time provided by the digital worker by quickly performing a jail room assignment and preparing for the arrival of the arrestee. Now, the officer doesn’t need to spend time completing a second round of data entry to create the jailhouse system of record.
Our new digital worker, through robotic process automation, will scrape data from the records management system in the sheriff’s deputy vehicle to our jail booking software.”Sheriff's Office Collin County, Texas
What IA brings to law enforcement
In spite of concerns about excluding officers from some aspects of policing, IA augments the police force by creating a machine/human interaction. UCLA Law Review wrote that automating law enforcement processes might deskill police officers, essentially excluding them from key functions, such as patrolling the community and traffic detail. However, officers are still needed to do their jobs. When officers spend all their time doing paperwork, they don’t have time to handle what matters. For example, in Collin County, officers were able to reclaim time lost to paperwork and reinvest it in policing.
Across the county, with an average of nearly 10 arrests per day, 7 days a week, 365 days per year, officers in Collin County can return nearly 4,000 hours of value-added time to the community they serve and protect. Officers also benefit from being able to focus on high-value, rewarding tasks that involve complex reasoning.
For over a decade, this has been a persistent problem for us, and we’re thrilled to have a solution, finally.”Sheriff's Office Collin County, Texas
Not only do digital workers save time, but they prevent errors from entering the system. Officers don’t need to enter information into multiple databases, so there is less chance for error. IA brings consistency and compliance to law enforcement procedures.
How MCCi helped Collin County adopt IA
The Collin County Sheriff’s Office is no stranger to innovating by adopting government technology. However, they did need help transitioning their booking process to IA. By partnering with MCCi, Collin County was able to leverage Blue Prism IA.
We’re working with MCCi and we’re excited about our first Blue Prism project. We leaned on MCCi to help us a lot. I love that they have a highly technical, skilled team that allows us to get the problem that we have solved. It’s not just basic tech support. When we call on MCCi, it’s at a very high level. The support has been fantastic. We have worked with one specific person with each problem, and they stay on until the very end. There’s no closing out the ticket or passing it to another person. They will always be the person we call on for Blue Prism, and beyond.”Sheriff's Office, Collin County, Texas