Barcodes keep our officers and the public safe by speeding up data collection and ensuring accuracy.
We often take the safety of our community and daily lives for granted, which means we don’t always think about the risks our troopers face when they get into their cruisers to protect the peace. Human behavior is tough to predict and control, and each time a trooper exits their cruiser—whether for a traffic violation or an event—their lives are immediately at risk. Studies have shown that the longer troopers are outside of their cruisers, the more their safety is compromised.
With the right equipment, police officers and other public safety professionals can automate and simplify their processes, which allows them to get out of harm’s way faster. Because barcode scanning can take a task of minutes down to seconds, it has become a valuable asset to public safety processes and is now a fixture in cruisers, offices, courts, and elsewhere.
Workflow Issues in Law Enforcement
1. Time Per Traffic Stop
When attending to an incident, troopers return to their cruisers to enter driver license information. Manual entry of information into police database applications can take troopers more than three minutes and opens up the potential for data inaccuracies like misidentification, spelling errors, etc. Within these three minutes, anything could happen. The violator may decide to prematurely leave the scene of the incident, pull out a weapon, or engage in other risky behavior—endangering themselves, the trooper, and the lives of others.
According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, there were 272,783 traffic stops on Utah highways in 2014 and slightly more than half of them resulted in a citation (1). Depending on the state and the jurisdiction, the officer still may be required to take the driver’s information even if they are only issuing a warning. Let’s imagine the troopers took information for all 272,783 people when they pulled them over. With three minutes of typing per person, that would take at least 13,639 hours or 568 days of typing data that year—and that is just in Utah.
2. Data Parsing of Driver Licenses
Another workflow problem that is seen in public safety is the parsing of ID card information. In a typical workflow process there is often more than one application that is used to store information. There may be one type of application for entering data in a patrol officer’s car and another in the office and so on. If officers are manually entering the data into each separate application, the time gets compounded for each incident.
Driver licenses or ID cards from other states create another data parsing problem. Manual data entry of information from out-of-state ID cards may take more time because the layout of those cards varies from state to state.
3. Errors as a Result of Manual Data Entry
A big issues at traffic stops is the potential for error and misidentification that stems from manual data entry. If a trooper misspells something or doesn’t enter enough information, the system could potentially pull up the wrong person. This in turn could put the violation on the wrong record altogether, which would cause inaccuracies, legal issues, and a substantial amount of time and effort to fix.
4. Inventory Control and Evidence Tracking
According to Bob Gavin of Police Magazine, “Managing evidence is one of law enforcement's most critical tasks. Yet for thousands of police agencies it's overwhelming due to insufficient or no training, rotating personnel, low priority from administrators, and inadequate evidence tracking methods” (2). Keeping inventory of evidence is a huge part of public safety. Evidence can make or break a case, and it could be detrimental if it isn’t kept somewhere where it is accurately tracked and safe.
Why Barcode Scanning Solves Workflow Issues in Law Enforcement
1. Less Time Per Traffic Stop
If troopers have a reliable, high-performing barcode scanner in their cruiser, there is no need for manual data entry. They can scan the back of driver licenses and the data will automatically sync into their application. This will ensure that they have more time to keep their eyes on the scene of the incident and get out of potentially risky situations faster. With barcode scanners, the three or more minutes of manual data entry can be reduced to less than 30 seconds.
2. Accurate Data Parsing
Because most public safety processes use more than one data-entry application through the entire workflow, utilizing a barcode scanner that can reliably parse information into each and every application will save time, reduce stress, and increase safety.
It is essential that officers have a barcode scanning solution that can parse data from driver licenses from every state including digital ID's. If the scanner does this, troopers won’t have to search out-of-state licenses for all of the corresponding information and manually enter it into their application.
3. Fewer Errors
A barcode scanner is a reliable, accurate way to enter data into an application. When utilizing a barcode scanner, errors and misidentification won’t be an issue since all of the needed information is entered into the system automatically without typos or misspellings.
4. Improved Controls on Evidence and Inventory
Using barcodes for evidence and inventory allows public safety professionals to create automated tracking systems that accurately track and control what goes in and out. This is a reliable and efficient way to make sure evidence is kept where it is needed and inventory levels are always maintained.
The Solution is Simple with Code
Introducing barcodes and barcode readers into public safety processes will improve performance and free up troopers and staff to focus on the situation at hand. Code’s CR950, CR1000, and CR4300 scanning solutions offer high-performance options for any public safety application. Learn more about how these solutions can work for you below.
- The CR950 is our most cost-effective solution for public safety officers and will work flawlessly in evidence lockups or other areas that require secure access. Don’t let the price fool you, this scanner can handle anything you throw at it—including ID verification and parsing, chain of custody data, and asset tracking. For added convenience, you can easily switch between using the scanner as a hand-held device or a static device.
- The CR1000 is the ideal scanning solution for time-saving and efficient public safety workflows—especially during traffic stops. With it’s compact size and high-powered scan engine, this reader will keep a low profile while reading virtually any barcode—including state-issued driver licenses, digital IDs, and military IDs. You will significantly reduce time spent at traffic stops with the lightning-fast reading and precise ID information parsing capabilities of the CR1000. In fact this solution has already been deployed within many law enforcement agencies nationwide with significant success.
- The CR4300 is a hybrid mobile scanning solution that features a highly-durable protective plastic sled with added battery power for your iOS device. With the added imager, your iOS device becomes an enterprise-level scanning solution that can be used anywhere. Verify age, scan 1D and 2D barcodes, parse ID information, and more all from your existing smartphone!
Want to keep your officers safe? Visit www.codecorp.com and find your barcode scanning solution.