Technology Helps Parsons Police Adapt During Pandemic
In recent weeks the Parsons Police Department has been able to make much needed updates to the computers in their patrol cars. The was a part of a large-scale project that was initiated by Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks to keep up with the technology trend in policing nationwide.
"Far too often smaller departments find themselves stuck without and technological advances in their policing efforts. Then it comes in a huge financial wave and burden to the community to make a state forced advance to catch up," said Spinks. Often those departments that are playing catch up are never really caught up in the fast-paced world of computer and technology.
Chief Spinks and Deputy Chief Dennis Dodd have seen that working smarter includes making incremental investments in technology and have been able to research cost-effective ways to keep the department up to date with the advances in law enforcement. This comes in part from trading-in outdated equipment and updating and replacing as needed.
Information sharing is also one of the greatest benefits if this updated technology. The Parsons Police Department has also updated its records management systems too. Originally the Company was named Information Technology Incorporated or ITI but has been changed to Omnigo Public Safety Systems. This upgrade has changed the way we record and share information with agencies that also use this software. We can now share criminal information with other law enforcement agencies in the area. Its is well known that criminals do not pick a town a stay but like to roam the state or region in search of the perfect opportunity. Parsons can now share criminal information with these Sheriff's office; Labette County, Bourbon County, Cherokee County, and these police departments; Frontenac, Fort Scott, Galena, and Garnett. Not everyone uses the same records management system, but this is a huge step in the right direction.
Investing in technology is not the only way to improve agency operations. The use of on-line training has grown exponentially in policing over the past decade, just as it has at colleges and universities across the country.
"Police have a duty to be well versed in the changing laws and statutes," according to Sergeant Jason Ludwig. "We have enrolled in the Police One Online Academy to keep officers' skills current and to expand their technical expertise as journeymen level officer. Our department policy manual was tailored to our needs though the Lexipol Knowledge Management System and they have now partnered with Police One as well. This keeps all the training that we get online in-line with our current policies and ever-changing statutes and case law. This type of training has not been available in the past and the new equipment the officers are getting is going to help deliver that opportunity."
The public may see more police cars in parks and in parking lots. Not because of enforcing the statewide Stay-at-Home Order, but because the Department was able to upgrade the Mobile Data Terminals (MDT's) in the police vehicles. This upgrade will allow officers and detectives to access the agency's records management system (RMS) directly from their cars. This means that officers and detectives can complete their police reports, on-line training, follow-up investigations and other 'paperwork' in their patrol cars without having to return to the police facility to find an available computer to work on.
Given the current concern over the COVID-19 virus, this upgrade will allow for more patrol time and less time spent in the police offices by officers.
Consequently, the community could notice more officers parked in city parks, near schools and trail areas or in parking lots at the college, near intersections and shops while they work from their patrol cars.
This also helps to reduce the traffic in and out of the police department, which receives ongoing sanitization at the beginning and end of each shift.
"I've received great feedback from most folks who are happy to see police vehicles being visible," says Parsons Police Chief Robert Spinks. "I did see a complaint on social media from our more nefarious clients, who usually don't like to see the police. If we're upsetting drug transactions and other illegal conduct, so be it," says Spinks, "other communities can welcome the criminal element, but we aren't."
"While the Parsons Police Department continues to push the safety of our community forward, we are comforted by the community members that support our changes and actions. It seems that the loudest among the population are usually the nay-sayers, but rest assured the vast majority of Parsonians are sharing their support of our department, city and community. Those folks are the real back bone of our community and it's what keeps us moving forward," according to Deputy Chief Dodd.
Acting Commander Kyle Wiford says, "if you see us out and about sitting, watching, or enjoying the day just keep in mind that we are doing what we can in this difficult situation to keep an eye on the public for their safety and peace of mind. If it upsets a small group of our habitual criminals that we are out, well then, what are they doing wrong?"
The Parsons Police Department is currently working on a new website for the public to use which will allow citizens the ability to sign up for police alerts, crime prevention messages and emergency management information. Its launch is coming in just a few short weeks. If there is something that you wish your police department had on their website send Sgt. Jason Ludwig an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know what you would like to see that is not currently available at www.parsonspd.com.