About 100 Officers with the City of Kawartha Lakes OPP Detachment will soon be taking part in a pilot project using a VALET, but it’s not what you think.
VALET stands for Voice Activated Law Enforcement Tool. It’s an in-car dictation tool that’s meant to make officers more efficient while allowing them to spend more time out in the field. Sgt. Phil Bronson a Senior Business Analyst with the OPP says the City of Kawartha Lakes and Haliburton Highlands OPP detachments were selected to take part in a pilot project because they represented detachments with an excellent cross-representation of General Law Enforcement duties. “Officers complete both Traffic and general Law Enforcement duties at these two detachments. Their patrol areas include roads with unique / unusual names and they deal with a cross-section of community involving both local members of the public as well as cottagers.”
The pilot, officially called a “Proof of Concept” starts June 13th and runs until the end of 2017.
A statistical analysis of over 200,000 previous dictations reveals an average officer voice dictation takes only 4 mins 15 seconds per phone call but it would take the data entry clerks an average of 25 minutes to then enter the information by manually typing what the officer had dictated. The VALET would eliminate this process and any potential back-log by data entry staff. “Time savings is huge” says Acting Staff Sgt. and Operations Manager, Nathan Hele, Kawartha lakes OPP. “The ability for the officer to stay on the road while doing reports increases their visibility in the community and allows them to respond to more calls”
But it does a lot more than that. “VALET allows us to track all aspects of an officer’s work on the computer. For instance, the “Smart Form” that they use to complete their occurrence information, has all fields recorded separately. As such, we know exactly how long it takes a member to complete the report as well as whether they used voice or keyboard to enter the information.” Bronson says. “VALET is linked to the GPS modem in the car and as such, we know where the officer was when he completed his report.”
Police say in the past officers would have to return to the detachment to then phone the data entry unit and call in their information. Now, officer can remain in their cars and on patrol without needing to return to the detachment.
VALET also uses GPS technology at incident scenes, with automatic look-up into the OPP mapping system. It can read a drivers license, reducing the officer’s need to say names into the system and improves accuracy of the data according to Bronson. The new system also allows officers to complete person and vehicle searches into multiple databases via voice command.
The VALET software was written entirely in-house. The only cost to the OPP is for Dragon Law Enforcement software licences as well as for Microphones. “We are using a state of the art, programmable microphone for our members which includes excellent noise cancelation for both in-car and office situations.”
This pilot includes 100 OPP staff and uses 50 microphones. A microphone will cost between $300 – $500 each, depending upon volume and software licences are approximately $300 – $350.00 each.
Police say if the pilot is successful, a bulk purchase would then be acquired and pricing could change accordingly.
The OPP will be capturing data to see if the equipment saves time and money and to determine if it works in the way it is intended to work before deciding to roll out the program across the province.