Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about—and benefit from—some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.
EvidenceOnQ Software Ensures Oregon Police Department Accuracy/Security of Evidence and Saves Resources
When Ken Johnson joined the Fairview, Oregon, Police Department as the new chief, the evidence room was in disarray. “We couldn’t even tell, based on inventory, the amount of drugs, guns, or cash that we had,” Chief Johnson recalled. “It was terrible.”
After careful research of software solutions, he chose the EvidenceOnQ developed by FileOnQ, Inc. (www.fileonq.com) based in Seattle, Washington, and went online with it in August 2010. The chief said he felt this was the best solution for liability protection and evidence control. He was correct.
Since installing EvidenceOnQ, Fairview Police Department has achieved several major efficiencies with its evidence management operations. For instance, officers can easily enter evidence into EvidenceOnQ’s single page screen, where a unique barcode is instantly assigned and labels are easily generated for each piece of evidence. Duplicate information, such as crime scene locations, victim’s name, and so forth, needs to be entered only once, eliminating repetitive data entry.
The software’s searching feature is powerful. If a specific piece of evidence is sought—yet there is no case number, EvidenceOnQ can find the item by searching any field or combination of fields.
Chain of custody is secure. Once data are entered into EvidenceOnQ, a permanent, unalterable record of every action taken on that item is maintained for its entire lifecycle.
Fairview Police Department is one of the few accredited police agencies in Oregon. Chief Johnson uses EvidenceOnQ to generate specific required reports on chain of custody. In this way, he said, “The software helps us document best practices for our community.”
EvidenceOnQ can generate unlimited custom reports. With a couple of keystrokes, Chief Johnson can produce reports on evidence room audits, inventory, quantities of drugs and cash, and the latest purging backlog status.
Chief Johnson is confident that EvidenceOnQ assures integrity with Fairview Police Department’s evidence management. Time savings is also a key advantage. The software’s purging report is convincing proof. “I can go into the software and generate a report asking for all evidence more than 90 days old,” Chief Johnson said, “and EvidenceOnQ produces it within seconds. Before, we’d have to handsearch every file, so the software has saved us hundreds of hours.”
For more information, visit www.evidenceonq.com.
GraffitiTech’s GT-1 Reduces Graffiti Vandalism, Abatement Costs in the City of Watsonville, California
Many cities throughout the United States suffer from graffiti vandalism. The City of Watsonville, California, had a graffiti problem. The annual budget for abatement (cleanup) was $150,000, which did not include money spent by business owners or private individuals. The city decided to take a big bite out of its graffiti vandalism problem. In order to affect a significant change, it formed a plan dubbed “T.A.G. – Targeting All Graffiti.”
The Watsonville Police Department worked with GraffitiTech Inc. to implement six of its new GT-1 graffiti detection systems. GT-1 is a security surveillance device that acts as a force multiplier for law enforcement. It is designed to detect a graffiti-specific event while it is in progress and immediately notify officers in time for them to proceed to the scene to make an arrest. Over the course of three months, the GT-1 devices assisted in the arrest of nearly 30 individuals.
Word spread rapidly among graffiti vandals that if you tag in Watsonville, you will get arrested.
“Within the first week of deployment, our new units were responsible for the detection and apprehension of two of the city’s most active vandals. Combined, the two suspects are responsible for well over $20,000 in damage in just our city alone. GraffitiTech’s product is well worth the investment and easy to use. The suspects were so surprised, the paint on their hands was still wet,” said Watsonville Chief of Police, Manny Solano.
Through the use of the GraffitiTech Inc.’s GT-1 and the concentrated efforts of the officers of the Watsonville Police Department, the city was able to reduce its annual graffiti abatement budget by approximately 50 percent. With an annual savings of nearly $75,000, the GraffitiTech solution has proven to be an invaluable investment to Watsonville, saving money and time for the city, police department, and local businesses.
For more information, visit graffititech.com.
Pride in the Badge: Police Departments Nationwide Boost Morale with Anniversary and Special Event Badges
Badges to commemorate special events are more popular than ever. Ranging from the anniversary of 9/11 to special events like the Super Bowl these badges are a sign of pride and honor for each department. However, police anniversary badges are by far the most common.
“Special police badges are a huge trend now, and anniversary badges have really caught on,” said Jimmy Smith, Co-Founder of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Museum Association of Nevada. “They boost officer morale and instill a sense of pride throughout the department. Every time you do an anniversary badge there are officers that want to make it the official department badge.”
Anniversary badges also enable a department to understand its history, to better appreciate its roots, and to take pride in the community. Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department—with the help of Sun Badge, an Ontario, California, badge manufacturer—issues an anniversary badge every five years. Smith designed the 25th; 30th; 35th; and the 40th, which is currently in production. Smith has also created a special 9/11 commemorative edition badge as well as one for the honor guard.
“I’ve been a collector for 40 years and have samples from every badge maker, and nobody makes a departmental badge like Sun,” said Smith. “Everywhere we go, people stare at them because it’s really official looking; it’s the best looking badge I ever made. We get a lot more respect as a result.”
There are many different reasons a department might have for celebrating an occasion; commemorating that celebration by creating a badge that an officer can wear has become a very popular option. ♦
For more information, visit sunbadgeorders.com.