New Feature in Discover: Public User Management

A popular use of Discover is to set up alerts for property owners.  However, this required some extra work in creation and management of these “public users”.  To make this process easier, we added a checkbox to the User Manager.  This allows you to flag a user as a public recipient. Two new features make use of this checkbox:  

Public Alert Call Type Exclusions

If there are sensitive types of calls that should not be revealed to property owners or managers, you may select these call types to exclude.  They can be added or changed in a single location instead of editing every alert.

Public E-mail Notification Text

When sending e-mails, it is common to include a standard paragraph to appear above the alert information, perhaps to include a contact name and telephone number that can answer questions about the alert.

Now, you can enter some text that will automatically be included at the top of each alert e-mail that gets delivered.  If this text is modified, all alerts delivered to public users will inherit this change.

Both of these new features are available an the Admin tab.

A column was added to indicate which user accounts are marked as public in the User Manager.

 

 

Corona Solutions Offers Scheduled Patrol Performance Reports

Corona Solutions has announced a new service offering to deliver regular reporting of an agency’s key performance indicators.  Since 1995, the company has been offering software tools to assist law-enforcement agencies with the complex task of scheduling their patrol officers.

 

The new service, Deploy Plus, provides periodic delivery (quarterly or biannually) of attractive and professional reports that focus on patrol service performance.  These reports show, at a birds-eye level, how well the agency is meeting the demands of their citizens.  Reports include the basics such as historical response times, but also a summary of how patrol officers’ time was spent.  It’s important to see exactly how officers’ time was divided between calls for service from the community, administrative activities, and proactive work. The Deploy Plus report will include charts showing how much time was taken in each category, but also will identify the number and types of calls that consumed this time.

 

Also included in the report is an analysis of the current patrol schedule.  It may recommend changes of staffing levels to the current schedule or a modified schedule that better matches variations in the demand for service.  Statistics will be compared between reporting intervals to show trends in these key performance indicators so it becomes much easier for management to spot problems sooner or to show a continued effort for improvement in their community.

 

“Most agencies only analyze and change their schedule once every few years and those changes are often made by gut instinct. Since Deploy Plus includes comprehensive analysis multiple times per year, agencies can be confident that they are making changes based on the most accurate data available. Deploy Plus is like a finger on the pulse of the service level to your community.” -Dan Harris, President of Corona Solutions

 

For more information:

 

http://www.coronasolutions.com

 

Corona Solutions Announces Significant Update to Ops Force: Deploy

Corona Solutions recently unveiled a new addition to their Ops Force: Deploy product that’s focused on the task of scheduling patrol officers within law enforcement agencies.  While Deploy assigns the appropriate number of officers to an existing schedule pattern, the newest feature, Project Bullseye takes the practice of scheduling to the next level.

 

Project Bullseye brings the capability to evaluate potentially millions of different schedules by utilizing a large “cluster” of computers that will make several recommendations according to their match with the needs of the community.  Adopting a new schedule that better aligns the number of officers on-duty with the measured demand will result in an increase in proactive time available to officers that can be used to benefit community engagement and crime prevention activities.

 

“The Project Bullseye release is a major event for our company.  We’ve been working towards this functionality since the beginning, over twenty years ago.  We imagined doing this long before the computing power was available to do such complicated calculations.  Now that it is, we are excited to see how our customers will benefit from this enhancement.” -Dan Harris, President of Corona Solutions

 

Deploy has led the way in operations analysis by providing staffing recommendations after thoroughly examining information stored in a database of 911 call records.  The record-keeping in most of these systems is very detailed and will track the locations, time of occurrence, and the officers’ time spent handling each call for help that comes in.  Deploy has always been able to assist those tasked with scheduling patrol officers by assigning the appropriate amount of people to an existing schedule pattern in the most effective way. Users are also able to compare different schedules and easily evaluate suitability for the demand for service as calculated from the detailed 911 call history.

 

While Deploy has provided tremendous value to its  customers, the question remained of how to choose the best shift patterns and when to start the shifts that are working.  In most agencies, if changing the schedule is considered, only one or two alternatives are presented as possible replacements.  Finding new patrol schedules was a very time-consuming and daunting task due to the challenge of balancing the requirements of officer safety with community expectations of response time while still being constrained by limited budgets.

Corona Solutions has been improving the process of matching staffing levels to the demand from the community since 1995.  Project Bullseye tackles the challenge of schedule design and makes this easier to create and evaluate new patrol schedules.

 

Project Bullseye is available in the Deploy and Deploy Plus products.

For more information:

http://www.coronasolutions.com/bullseye

 

 

It’s a Matter of Time

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When performing operations analysis on patrol, one necessary ingredient is an accurate workload assessment. The best work schedule depends on how closely your available patrol units align with the demand for service at any given time. This demand for service is most accurately measured by how much time is dedicated to handling calls. Since the number of calls handled is an easy metric to track, this number is sometimes used to assume a resulting amount of work. Fortunately there are now tools available that show the inadequacy of relying on the quantity of calls for service. The unique circumstances of every response causes significant variance in time required. Using the number of calls can be misleading and should not be the primary measurement.

Fortunately, Computer-aided Dispatch (CAD) Systems provide the capability to accurately track all phases of a response to a call: dispatch time, en-route time, arrive time, and clear time. Using those four time stamps, we are able to asses the two most important pieces of data for analysis- travel time and on-scene time. Knowing how much time elapsed in each of these categories allows us to apply an advanced mathematical relation called a queueing model. This mathematical model asserts that a given quantity of available resources can handle a certain amount of work. Therefore, with a known quantity of work, we can determine how many resources are needed to adequately staff for it.

A problem I have regularly seen when examining data from CAD systems is a lack of arrive and clear time stamps. In an emergency, the officer’s focus is primarily on responding to the scene as quickly as possible to render assistance. Enforcing the requirement that they press a key on their mobile computer or relay to dispatch their arrival is often thought of as a nuisance, and habits may form to avoid it completely. When an arrive or clear time stamp is missing from the record, it is unknown how much time was allocated to that call. Because of this, there are only two options for analysis: assume an amount of time or ignore the time completely.

To highlight this problem, I analyzed a sample of CAD data from 34 police and sheriffs departments. I have not shared the names of the agencies, but they cover agencies with a dozen officers to those with over a thousand. I gathered all events that were classified as citizen-generated and had a significant likelihood that time was actually spent on the event but was missing. This method excluded those where the unit was preempted or cancelled before arriving on scene.

The graph in Figure 1 shows the percentage of missing arrive or clear time stamps. Events may have had an arrival but no clear, or had no arrival but a clear at least 10 minutes later than the en-route time stamp.

Agency 6 shows nearly 25% of their unit responses did not log an arrive time. This means that up to one quarter of their on-scene time is unknown. We know when the unit cleared from the call, but we don’t know how long it took to arrive on the scene and therefore the amount of service time spent handling the event.

Agency 32 shows a different kind of problem. There was an arrival time logged, however there was no clear time. The only choice we have here is to assume a certain amount of time spent on-scene. We have two options here. We guess the amount of time spent on-scene – which could be wildly inaccurate; or, we choose to not include the call in analysis. In order to avoid including guessed data in mathematical analysis, 25% of their unit responses must be completely ignored. The result is a significant under-counting of demand for service. If this was a problem that was evenly distributed at all times, one could just inflate the workload by 25% (my inner-analyst cringes while typing this). However, this type of problem tends to be more prevalent when certain officers or groups of officers are on duty. This is not a technical problem, it is a policy problem.

I would encourage every agency to do a review of their own data to identify if a policy needs to be amended, enforced, or implemented. The accuracy of these time stamps may determine if an officer will have backup or not when in danger.

Figure 1
missingtimestamps

Written by Dan Harris, President and CTO of Corona Solutions