The Erlanger, Ky., police department is using business intelligence reporting for business activity monitoring, something that many traditional businesses have yet to take on.
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Since the department and the county it serves rely on taxpayer dollars for funding, they are under more pressure than many companies to maintain a high level of performance on a dwindling budget.
"Our [departmental] budget shrinks every year and people don't like it when taxes are raised to hire new officers, so we had to figure out a way to make our officers more efficient when doing their jobs," said Steve Castor, an officer with the Erlanger department and director of communications for the county.
Using Information Builders Inc.'s WebFocus business intelligence reporting software, 52 crime and emergency dispatch call reports are sent daily to administrators and police officers in more than a dozen cities.
Our budget shrinks every year and people don't like it when taxes are raised to hire new officers, so we had to figure out a way to make our officers more efficient when doing their jobs.
Erlanger, Ky.police department
Before the system was put in, neighboring city administrators and police departments had no way of identifying crime patterns. The information was not centralized or shared. Even within city limits, officers were not effectively deployed to high-crime areas.
"We're already redeploying officers based on crime activity and giving officers information that lets them do their own detective work," Castor said. "They can now identify crime patterns based on daily reports, trend analyses and [geographical] mapping instead of the information ending up in a file cabinet."
As for real-time business intelligence, officers have access to a BI dashboard inside their patrol cars and can fill in free-text forms with partial descriptions of license plates or other information pertaining to a suspected crime. That information is centralized in WebFocus and shared with other officers on their patrol car display screens.
Delivering information to officers while they are mobile has also led to more time on the street -- before, officers would have to use department PCs to view reports and updates on daily crime and emergency call activity.
"We've been able to put less equipment and technology in the building because the officers can use a Google-like interface to search against WebFocus," Castor said.
Let us know what you think about the story; email: Christina Torode, Senior News Writer.