When the 188 sworn officers of the Richmond, California, Police Department take to the streets every day, they’re making the city a safer place to live by preventing crime and catching criminals. But for several years, technology stood in the way of the department’s mission to protect the city’s 102,000 citizens. Specifically, the department’s aging records management system (RMS) made it difficult for officers to manage daily crime reports. “Our main priority is public safety, and that involves collecting data for investigations,” says Sgt. Timothy Gard of the Richmond Police Department. “We document everything from a found wallet on the street to multiple homicides involving multiple suspects and victims. Unfortunately, we had a server-based solution that was not user-friendly at all, and our reporting was very time-consuming.”
When officers created reports, they often spent too much time uploading files. “If I started creating a crime report in my car and forgot to upload it to the server, I couldn’t access the report when I went into our main building,” Gard says. “I’d have to go back to my car, log back onto the RMS, and then upload it. It was definitely inefficient.” As a result, officers sometimes did not upload reports to the RMS, which had a negative impact on investigations.
The department also sought to reduce the time and costs associated with maintaining its RMS. “It took a lot of hours to ensure data backups, for example,” says Gard. “We actually had a corrupted database at one point, and we spent a lot of money to recover the lost data. And then we had to use two databases to access the information we need to do our jobs. It was not simple. We realized we needed a cloud-based RMS solution.”
The Richmond Police Department looked at several RMS systems before choosing Mark43 RMS, based on Amazon Web Services (AWS). Mark43, an AWS Partner Network (AWS) Advanced Technology Partner, provides integrated cloud applications for public-safety data collection and management. Mark43 RMS is powered by the AWS GovCloud (US) and takes advantage of numerous AWS services. “With Mark43 RMS, we found the best solution for transitioning from a server-based system to a cloud-based system,” says Gard. “And the fact that it runs on AWS was a huge selling point for us, because we knew AWS offered reliability and stability and solid security for our critical data.”
Using Mark43 RMS, Richmond Police Department employees can easily input, integrate, and access all details related to a crime or a case. Users can access the system from wherever they are, on a phone, tablet, or laptop. “We can be in our cars, at the station, or in court, and it’s the same seamless experience,” says Gard.
Richmond Police Department police officers, investigators, and administrators can now use Mark43 RMS to access and view up-to-date crime information all day, every day, because it is based on AWS. “And when someone updates a report, the people viewing that report see the changes in real time," says Gard. All 250 department users can see the same data at the same time, allowing the Richmond Police Department to improve its ability to protect the citizens of Richmond. “Because all of us can see and share report data in a centralized system based on AWS, we have a better ability to directly impact people’s lives in the city because we have the best data possible to complete our investigations,” Gard says. “And everything – from reports to photographs to other attachments – is linked in the RMS, so we can always see all related documents in one place. This makes investigations much easier.”
The department can also complete reports faster than before. “Using our previous RMS, I would have to print out reports, copy them, and then scan them as PDFs and send them to my email if I wanted to look at them offsite,” states Gard. “A typical homicide report can be 80 pages long, so that would take many hours to do. Now, using Mark43’s RMS, I can access the entire report and all associated documents with the click of a button, which saves a lot of time.”
Police officers and investigators can more effectively solve cases by accessing Mark43 RMS from remote locations, such as in court. “Our officers can pull up data on their smartphones or tablets in court, because everything is cloud-based,” says Gard. “We had some investigators working on a major case in court, and the district attorney was looking for a specific document that was missing. One of our employees was able to bring that report up on his phone, which helped quickly solve the problem.”
Additionally, the department is saving time and money because it no longer needs to maintain its own servers to support an RMS. “Formerly, we had a full-time IT person who managed our server stack. Now, because everything is running on AWS, we’ve been able to reassign him to other IT tasks, and he is helping us catch up on all the internal IT initiatives we were behind on. We are seeing a significant time and cost savings from Mark43 RMS. This is another great benefit of using a cloud-based solution, and we are excited to grow our relationship with Mark43.”
Mark43, an AWS Partner Network (APN) Advanced Technology Partner based in New York City, develops cloud-based software solutions for the public-safety industry. The Mark43 platform offers records management system (RMS) and computer aided dispatch (CAD) applications for a growing number of police departments and other public-service organizations.
Learn more about the AWS GovCloud (US), Amazon's cloud region designed to host sensitive data, regulated workloads, and address the most stringent U.S. government security and compliance requirements.