Home Break-in Horror Story
By Korinne Condie
My home was broken into in April of this year. April 19th to be exact, as it’s not a date one quickly forgets.
As burglaries go, it was on the “nicer” side, I imagine. Meaning not everything of value was taken and the house was not ransacked. But regardless of how “nice” it was, it was a burglary and distressing to say the least. I called the police in tears, and they assured metro officers would be dispatched to clear the house. Additionally, they told me that the city was “on fire” and I could expect delays.
I was too upset to ask what constituted “delays”; I would soon find out.
Police First Response
Almost 45 minutes later, two officers arrived with guns drawn. They first proceeded to ensure the house was unoccupied. Next, they asked a few questions, jotted down a few notes, and explained to my four year old that no, he could not play with the taser. I was told not to touch anything and that someone would be coming over later to get the report, take photos, and open a case about the robbery. And then they left. They were at my house for a sum total of 10 minutes, but had to spend an additional 20 sitting in their car writing up a report.
Four Hours Later
Four hours go by. I sit in the house, touching nothing, and waiting. Long after dark, an officer finally arrives to take the report. He starts by asking me the exact same questions the original officers asked. I work for a company that creates law enforcement software (specifically case and records management software, often known as RMS and CAD) and therefore I had some idea of what to expect. So, I politely asked why he didn’t just get the details from the original officers. His response was “Oh, our systems don’t let us do that. Those first officers open a call for service. Then I have to open an incident and a case, so I have to re-enter all of the data into a different system.”
Several More Hours Later
Fast forward a few more hours. The officer is writing notes in a notebook, taking pictures, dusting for fingerprints, and asking for a list of everything that was taken. As he was finishing up, I asked him how long it would take for him to enter all this data into his case management system. His response was “It’s going to take forever. Our system is so slow, it’s like 30 years old and I am going to have to enter the data in like three places. I also have to download and then upload all these pictures. I have a long night ahead of me getting this all in.”
My boss later asked me — jokingly I think — why I didn’t have the wherewithal to grab a business card and hand it to him or pull out my computer and give him a demo of Kaseware. Missed opportunity there.
Over the course of the next few days, as expected, I found a few more things missing that I needed to report. The police officer had told me to call and they would add the missing items to my case via a supplemental report.
The first call I made was to dispatch. (A police dispatcher is the person who first answers the phones for both emergency and non-emergency calls, assesses the situation, and then assigns the appropriate officer to respond.)
First Dispatch Call
Of course, this particular dispatcher couldn’t find my case number. This was largely because cases were not in any sort of logical order nor could he do a search. So cursing the system under his breath, he scrolled through a list of case numbers to find mine. Once he finally found it, he was able to add the information and file a new report to the case. He asked me to wait while he did it as “sometimes it takes the system a few tries for it to go through successfully.”
Second Dispatch Call
The second time I called, the officer I spoke to couldn’t get the system to allow him to open a supplemental report as the previous officer had done. Finding no other option, he instead opened a new call for service and said someone would be contacting me to get the information from me. And as promised, another officer called to take my report to close that call. All of this effort, just to report a coax cable splitter was taken (though who takes a coax cable splitter in a robbery is still a question that remains unanswered).
It can be horribly time consuming to report a home robbery to the police, requiring many difference officers and duplicate reports.
It can be complicated to later make updates to your police report. The dispatchers may have trouble locating your case due to outdated case management software.
“The system is so slow”
At the end of the day, I had to talk to at least eight different police officers and detectives. They were all incredibly helpful and kind to me during this incident. But in the course of my conversations with them, every single one, without exception, had some feedback about their current CAD and RMS system:
- “I have to enter data in like 3 different places.”
- “The system is so slow.”
- “I can’t do a search and find the information I need.”
- “When something is wrong with the system, I have no help guide or someone I can call.”
- “The system was designed like 30 years ago and it’s never updated.”
We “Just Deal With It”
And every single one of them, without exception, said something along the lines of they would love a new system, but this is what they have, so they “just deal with it.” They deal with the inefficiencies, with the system slowdowns, with having to use a system designed before half of them were even born. And something as simple as a home break-in takes hours more work than it should.
Not coming from a law enforcement background, I had not truly grasped what these officers were wrestling with day in and day out. I had heard the complaints about other systems while doing a ride along with the sheriff’s office or when sitting with a dispatcher, but it was all anecdotal, second-hand stories.
A New Way Forward
But in an instant, in the midst of this terrible event, it was suddenly so incredibly clear that what our founders had built with Kaseware. I now knew that what I was doing as part of our team, was so fundamentally different and so incredibly important.
How Many Hours Can We Save?
If our system can save an officer from re-entering data with our simple and easy-to-find forms, we can empower one officer to do a job that previously required 3-4 officers. Imagine how many many hours we can save. Multiply that by every police officer, by every department, by everyone whose job is relying on a system for records management or document management or dispatching or investigations. This could result in thousands of hours, given back to the people who need them most.
No MORE DUPLICATE FORMS & DATA ENTRY
Maybe next time, for that next person waiting on a police officer after their house is burglarized, they only have to wait five minutes. Maybe next time, that officer that responds, only has to spend 30 minutes entering the case information. That scenario is what our founders believed in, designed and created.
So I guess I “took my work home with me” that day. Not a circumstance I ever hope to repeat, but it just even more hardened my resolve to work with my team to do whatever we can to stop officers from having to “just deal with it.”
Police officers often have to enter the same data over and over again. This creates a lot of duplicate work for an already resource-strained department.
Kaseware automatically fills in forms so you only have to enter data once. Our case management system can help save police departments hundreds, if not thousands, of hours.
Korinne Condie is the Director of Customer Success at Kaseware. She is a former government contractor with extensive experience in system engineering, operations and customer success within both government and corporate organizations.