How public safety agencies can make data-driven decisions a daily habit

When it comes to data, many public safety agencies take a piecemeal approach, as opposed to holistically. For example, many view their computer-aided dispatch (CAD) or record management systems (RMS) as isolated entities. However, by not approaching data as a coordinated effort, an organization risks developing a short-sighted view.

If agencies have only a partial view of data, they can’t understand the scale of an incident. Likewise, not having an accurate data picture can lead to uncertainties about proper response and misallocation of resources.

Nearly 50% of executives surveyed by Deloitte said they make better decisions based on data, but this doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Developing the right mindset requires making daily data usage a habit.

Who can benefit from data?

Not everyone within an organization understands the benefits of data and how to efficiently utilize it. But if your organization builds a culture based on a belief that data can be a powerful tool, personnel will be quick to adopt it. This is true from the top of your organization on down. Here are some examples:

  1. Chiefs: The most visible member needs to use data. Employing dashboards to assess performance and trends across an agency is a great place to start.
  2. Sergeants: As supervisors, sergeants can use data to maintain productivity and balanced workloads, ensuring they are deploying resources effectively.
  3. Officers: When on the beat, officers analyze data within a certain time frame, such as within the last week or when they weren’t working. This analytic insight allows them to view trends from a neighborhood or community level.
  4. Call-Takers & dispatchers: Data provides dispatchers with greater situational insights into what’s happening in real time. For example, a caller may downplay an incident, but linked data can help determine trends in incidents and/or locations.

Four steps to using data daily

Because data affects so many different aspects of public safety, agencies should act now to turn their sporadic usage into a daily habit. This may seem daunting, but we’ve compiled four key steps to help you get started:

  1. Capture data: Capture the data your agency needs to achieve its goals. Identify whether you need mass quantities or if your agency requires a deep dive on one issue. It’s possible you’re unaware of the amount of data already in your possession.
  2. Integrate systems: Integrating CAD and RMS systems can ease the data collection process and provide an understanding of where your information comes from. It can also show you where data needs to be processed and stored, and who should use it.
  3. Make it accessible: To be used effectively, data must be accessible to multiple roles because it can benefit nearly every member of your organization. By making this information available to all team members, agencies can become outcome-based organizations prioritizing evidence-based results.
  4. Make it daily: Like any good habit, daily data use won’t happen overnight. The folks at Recon Insight say spending 15 minutes a day with data can transform team members’ approaches. Start with a manageable task and build out from there.

For more information on how you can utilize data and make data-driven decisions a habit, download our free eBook Transform Your Public Safety Agency with Analytics.

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