The Haddon Township Police Department (HTPD) prides itself on being on the cutting-edge of new technology. The Camden County, N.J. agency moved from handwritten or typed reports to a computerized system in 2000. Although its processes were more streamlined, HTPD realized that its records management system (RMS) was too expensive and there were additional functions that could be automated.
With 25 officers and two civilian employees serving 15,500 residents in a 3-square mile radius, HTPD was using SunGard’s HTE Naviline solution. Captain George Tagmire of HTPD explained why a change was needed, “First of all, it was very expensive because it was maintained online and they were charging exorbitant annual fees and for fixing problems. We had no control of the system and we were concerned about the security of our data. Additionally, it didn’t do accident reports or provide much functionality for evidence management.”
After evaluating a number of options, HTPD selected Metro Technology Services Visual Alert RMS in 2009. “Visual Alert is user friendly and was easy to use and introduce to the officers,” commented Capt. Tagmire.
Visual Alert is a total solution that integrates Records Management, Computer-Aided Dispatch, Resource Management, and Information Sharing. HTPD uses the software to handle incident-based reporting on a daily basis, for evidence management and arrest reports; as well as for Uniform Crime Reports. Capt. Tagmire also mentioned his interest in utilizing the query function more frequently to allow him to perform complex searches using a wide range of search criteria to reveal hidden connections on crimes.
“Visual Alert has really improved our evidence process,” explained Capt. Tagmire. “We purchased the barcode scanner and it is much easier for us to track and log evidence now. We have been able to reduce the paperwork involved in the process since it is all done right in the system. It is a true time savings and it is much easier to locate evidence when individuals come in to retrieve their personal property.”
HTPD has found that the Visual Alert solution is much easier to use for incident reports as well. Before, if there was no Internet access, the officers and staff had no way to access the system since it was all online. Now, all the department’s records are stored on a server in-house, so they always have easy access to important data.
“The most significant benefit of the system is the cost savings,” explained Capt. Tagmire. “We paid an exorbitant amount for a small township for our old system and we were just ‘renting’ it. The first year’s savings paid for the Visual Alert system and now our annual maintenance fees are about 10% of the cost of the SunGard solution.”
Furthermore, Capt. Tagmire commented on the difference in support. “The customer service is 100% better. If something needed to be fixed at our location, we had to pay someone to fly to us to fix it. Now, when we call Metro, we get great service and don’t incur the huge support fees.”
“We are very satisfied with the system and the service,” he added. “The company is excellent to deal with and the simplicity of the system allowed us to install it and be up and running quickly. We are more confident that our data is protected with Visual Alert.”