Over half of an average eight-hour shift is spent on paperwork.

77% of law enforcement professionals say they want smarter tools to help.

The annual Role of Technology in Law Enforcement Paperwork report is quite an eye opener.

It shows how police officers are spending a lot of their time on paperwork and reporting, which prevents them from tackling cases or combating crime. It is no wonder that a vast majority want their departments to invest in smarter tools to help with incident reporting.

Many departments across the country, like the Houston Police Department, are moving towards incident-based reporting to get a more accurate picture of crimes. The details, especially of similar cases, will help officers across departments to share information and work together to solve cases. The use of emerging tools will further enhance these endeavors.

The present systems are too slow and cumbersome and documentation processes are quite inefficient. Reporting is an essential part of their work, but it shouldn’t keep them away from being out in the community.

Officers need a smart tool that will cover all details and in a shorter time. Incomplete or inaccurate reports can impact officer productivity and officer safety as well.

One technology that can significantly help in this regard is voice. Millennials and the newest generation of police are accustomed to using mobile tools, so they are already familiar with voice-powered technology.

Agile mobile dictation tools can improve in-field reporting, increase efficiency, recruiting, and officer safety. Voice tools offer accurate and immediate reporting as well as sharing and access to information any time and from anywhere.

Law enforcement officers need to transition from traditional reporting systems to mobile tools to dictate and file accurate and detailed reports from a location or anywhere. Once filed, this report should be shareable and accessible across devices and locations.

While there are few detractors, there is an issue of tight budgets that make an investment in new technology an issue. But with more millennials in the force, mobile and portable technology is a part of everyday life. They are accustomed to being mobile because they have grown up with technology at their fingertips.

For next-generation officers to do their jobs well, it is imperative that authorities revisit their budgets and distribution strategies. The ability to connect anytime, anywhere, share photos, and file instant reports would completely streamline the whole reporting and paperwork handling.

Another point for police departments to consider is that new technologies will attract recruits. More baby boomers are retiring, and the increasing pressure that police officers face today in terms of public scrutiny have made police jobs unattractive options for many.

Looking forward

Tech agencies are creating cloud-based workgroups that are accessible via an officer’s mobile devices, controlled by voice.

The pressure of onsite reporting often puts the officer’s life in danger, as it makes them more vulnerable to ambush. With voice tech, they can now dictate without jeopardizing their situational awareness capabilities.