FEATURED IN TECHNOLOGY AND COMMUNICATIONS
Law Officer recently attended the 35th Annual IACP Law Enforcement Information Management Training Conference & Exposition (LEIM). While Editor-in-Chief Dale Stockton spoke at several of the sessions, we were making our rounds of the exhibitor’s hall, speaking with technology vendors.
Our job at a conference like this is to get through the marketing gobbledygook and get to the nuts and bolts of what’s being offered. It’s a tough job sometimes, even for tech guys like us. When technology vendors turn up the slick stuff, refer to Gartner’s Magic Quadrant and start saying things about how cops can “add value, increase productivity and improve governance across multiple lines of business” and provide “seamlessly integrated, end-to-end solutions,” we know it’s time to stand up and tell them to speak meaningful English.
Having said that, LEIM conference vendors had some great technologies on display and we’ll mention, briefly, a few of those that stuck out in our minds. We’ll be testing all these products and will report back either here, on LawOfficer.com or on CSGAnalysis.com in the coming months.
Nick spoke at length with Ed Claughton from PRI Management Group. He’s a police lieutenant who, as a sergeant, was assigned to records and found the systems in place to be, ah, wanting. So over the course of a couple of years, he made himself expert in the available systems out there. He’s turned this knowledge into a side consulting business, and he writes some excellent, free and unbiased articles on the subject at his website (www.policerecordsmanagement.com).
If you’ve seen WatchGuard Digital In-Car Video you probably wanted to know more about it. As we spoke to their (retired law enforcement) sales guy, we were interrupted at least twice by customers stopping by the booth to say how much they liked the product. We like the high-quality picture and the easy-to-use menus. We’re especially impressed with features like up to 40 hours of buffer to go back and do “after-the-fact” recording.
Matthew Grayson, the public safety guy at rugged keyboard manufacturer Man & Machine Inc.—“Bagel and coffee proof!”—was displaying his new patrol car’s rugged, flat, lightweight, silent, backlit keyboard. It’s flatter, thinner and quieter than any we’ve played with, and they’re going to send me some samples to play with and report on. We’ll definitely run it over with Nick’s Dodge RAM 2500 as they claimed they did. We’ll let you know how that goes.
The Canadian firm, Feeling Software, is doing some extraordinary things with 3D mapping and video management. They enhance 3D map views of your city with video and other context, including ShotSpotter alerts and a whole range of other inputs. For example, as you move through the city map, video appears where it’s available. Very “Minority Report” from the technology standpoint, and we like these guys because it’s a self-funded startup (no venture funding) and they’re modest as all get out.
Brother has a new, itty-bitty in-car printer that it claims produces six pages per minute of 8.5"-x-11" high-resolution black-and-white onto 20-lb. thermal paper—the kind that won’t curl up and roll under the car seat. This seems like a great advance for in-car printing of things like Amber Alerts, warrants, subpoenas and other full-sized paper documents.
First Watch is an interesting entrant in the police information management industry, taking information from a range of law enforcement technologies like computer-aided dispatch, records management systems and “others” and providing real-time statistical analysis and alerting.
We spoke with two forms-management firms doing slightly different things. PreSynct digitizes forms for entry on MDTs (or any computer), helping organize and process nightmare crash reports and other forms very easily. They sell with both service and perpetual-model licenses. They also offer a subscription model to agencies for as little as $25 a month. Similarly, Docview digitizes, stores and provides a sales platform for crash reports. It’s free to the agency, cheap for the end-users and offers a good way to do bulk report sales for insurance companies.
Finally, we spoke with Laserfiche. It takes a bit of parsing to realize that this company specializes in a highly useful thing: Their product takes the printed output of all your disparate systems including CAD, RMS and GIS, and places them in a single digital storage format. This allows you to then classify, sort, search, store, print and aggregate. We spent about half an hour going through various features, and comparing and contrasting Laserfiche’s offerings to some of its larger competitors: OpenText, Hyland Software’s OnBase, and products from giants such as Documentum from EMC and the IBM FileNet Content Manager. The results: Laserfiche makes a solid product.
Got a product you want us to talk about here or online? Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Neither the authors nor Law Officer receive compensation or consideration for coverage in this column.
Links to companies mentioned:
PRI Management Group http://policerecordsmanagement.com
Hyland OnBase http://www.hyland.com/onbase-and-ecm.aspx
Watch Guard Video http://bit.ly/iM9J8w
Feeling Software www.feelingsoftware.com/
Brother Printers http://www.brother-usa.com/mobile/mobile-Printers.aspx
First Watch http://firstwatch.net
Man & Machine Inc. www.man-machine.com/