The Unique Challenge of Law Enforcement
Law enforcement agencies are service organizations with a special set of challenges. They operate in a high-visibility, high-stakes environment. They’re accountable to the public for what they do and for the tax money they spend. And they have to deal with many factors they can’t control, from criminal behavior to social, political, and community issues.
In that kind of climate, organization and management are crucial—especially when it comes to equipment and supplies. Law enforcement professionals need to know they’ll have the right items, in the right places, in sufficient quantities to do their jobs.
Put another way, supply management is mission-critical to protecting officers and serving the public. If that responsibility rests with you, you should know about modern digital alternatives to traditional record-keeping.
A good supply management system needs to deliver at least six things:
- A detailed inventory of supplies and equipment in stock
- Fast and simple ways to order new items
- Easy check in and check out for officers and staff
- User tracking and communication
- Security and loss prevention
- Ability to export and integrate data with other systems
However, not all supply management systems are perfect for law enforcement. Because of the specific needs and the nature of the industry, you will need hardware and software that’s designed for your requirements. With legal issues in play, and system used by law enforcement has to be secure. Ask your supply management supplier about ways to control access and ensure the right people have the right privileges.
A good vendor will be able to offer you options that fit into your current command structure, and work effectively with local, state, and Federal agencies. You want a technology partner with law enforcement experience, because hardware and software designed for commercial enterprises won’t have the features and safeguards you need.
At a minimum, a system designed for law enforcement should include:
- Accessibility from computers or mobile device—whether the system is Web-based or on your network
- Full barcode compatibility
- User-friendly forms for data entry
- Configurable security, assuring appropriate access levels for each user
- Powerful data queries and filtering
- The ability to easily import and export data
- Full auditing capability including information about who deleted, added, or changed data
- The flexibility to allow changes to the interface, fields, or workflow to better suit your needs today and for years to come
Law enforcement administrators are tasked with a wide variety of responsibilities, many of which can’t be automated, so it’s important to get help with those that can. Whether you’ve decided to make the transition from old-fashioned systems to modern technology, or need to upgrade the systems you have, you owe it to yourself, your officers, and your department to learn more about what today’s supply management systems can do.