Risk management coming into focus for law enforcement

Law enforcement officials maintain a delicate relationship with the communities they protect. They must ensure the safety of citizens while also acting as a force for justice. As communities and law enforcement activities become more complex, officials are seeking out new ways to handle relationship management and avoid risk. CivSource spoke with Captain Mark Long about how he is approaching relationship and risk management in the Orange County Sheriffs Department.

Captain Long is working building a customer relationship management (CRM) platform for the Sheriffs Department that will allow managers and supervisors to process citizen complaints and handle incident management. Currently, the department maintains a personal history index for officers in the field. This index provides a variety of data points on a given officer including use of force, car accidents, disciplinary actions and complaints. However, in order to assemble the index, supervisors must pull individual data points from several areas.

The new platform will compile all of this information into a single location and allow supervisors to establish ranges of acceptable behaviors. Managers will then be able to monitor officer activity and identify potential patterns or poor performance in order to mitigate risk.

The Department has chosen Microsoft Dynamics xRM/CRM to serve as the basis for the platform.

“Right now, we’re monitoring what happens in the department, but it is a time consuming process. The new platform will give us better data for decision making,” Captain Long explains. “This will give us a one page snapshot on each employee and allow us to take a preventative approach to risk management.”

The new platform will also process citizen complaints more quickly. “If someone makes a complaint now, the complaint goes to internal affairs, and we start an investigation. Nine months later we get to the interview stage and say ‘were you rude to this person nine months ago?’, and the person who made the complaint is left waiting,” Long says.

Now, when a complaint comes in, a letter acknowledging receipt will go out and supervisors will have all of the data they need to make decisions quickly.

The CRM system for Orange County is currently in a prototype stage with roll out expected in April. The initial outlay for the project was just under $400,000.

As CivSource has reported, analytics like those offered by the CRM platform are gaining traction with law enforcement officials throughout the country. Customer relationship management, resource planning and predictive analytics are all helping officials gain a faster understanding of increasingly larger and more complex jurisdictions.

“Everyone in law enforcement has a goal of proactive risk management, its just a question of getting the tools in place. CRM has huge potential for our systems and law enforcement in general,” Long says.