Canadian Police Receive Cutting Edge E-notes App for Taking Police Notes
The Canadian Police Force will never be the same again. Thanks to cutting-edge technology that now allows police officers to maintain evidential integrity from the moment of a violation to the presentation of evidence at trial, Canada is well on the way to turning its police force into one of the most efficient in the world.
The necessity of police note-taking
Note-taking is an essential police officer function.
According to a 2006 ruling by the Hon. Heather L. Katarynych of the Ontario Court of Justice:
“It is not ‘good enough’ police practice…to make no notes at all in the course of an investigation. Responsible note-taking is part and parcel of a police officer’s duty, and both an ethical and legal obligation of the police. There is nothing new in this concept.”
Note-taking is as much a part of a police officer’s duty as working their beat or patrolling crime hotspots. Without proper note-taking, evidence is lost. Human memory isn’t reliable enough. Correct and accurate notes are imperative for maintaining order.
Multiple factors must be in place to establish efficiency and the integrity of the notes taken, including:
- The transforming of those paper notes into a digital format.
- Inserting the unaltered notes into the police force’s RMS—Record Management System—for them to be available at trial.
- The speed at which this can be done, particularly vital when a large-scale investigation is ongoing and multiple investigators at different locations require access to unaltered notes ASAP.
Failure to maintain integrity for notes can often mean the difference between prosecution and not.
It is not the practice of taking notes itself that is antiquated, it is the way it is being done.
The ancient practice of paper note-taking
For nearly 150 years, law enforcement agencies in Canada have been recording their administrative duties, evidence, case notes, and calls for service on paper notebooks.
This is the typical procedure of how paper note-taking works:
- Officers log their shift details in a paper notebook.
- When a call goes to 911, the dispatcher pushes the call details into an MDT (mobile data terminal) in the police vehicle. The officer then manually copies the dispatch details from the MDT into his/her notebook.
- During and after the call, the officer completes the notes in the paper notebook.
- At the end of the shift, the officer has to hand in the notebook to their supervisor for review.
- At the police station, the officer has to manually scan the handwritten notes from the notebook into the RMS.
- From the RMS, the notes get attached to reports for disclosure to the court.
If that glacial process wasn’t slow enough, the problem can often be exacerbated by:
- Bad handwriting
- Missing pages
- Missing notes
“Digital e-notes” on their own are not a complete solution
The solution might seem simple: “Take the notes digitally.” But if it were that simple, the problem would’ve been solved years ago.
Although the solution does lie in the realm of taking digital notes, the software available for this so far has fallen way off the mark.
The first problem is security, and it is an enormous problem. In the face of the current onslaught of data breaches over the last ten years, an entirely new solution was needed to prevent digital police notes from being destroyed, corrupted, or altered in any way.
Failing to secure data in civilian matters is bad enough—identity fraud cost Americans $56 billion in 2020 alone—but in criminal matters, it can mean that a guilty perpetrator goes free. Evidential integrity must be maintained at every step of the line. If done properly, correctly captured e-notes that are digitally time-stamped, encrypted using cutting-edge technology, and instantly stored in an RMS will ensure that evidential integrity is intact by the time a case goes to trial.
Intelligent Mobile Patrol (IMP)—a breakthrough in law enforcement
Intelligent Mobile Patrol is a digital law enforcement solution that embraces and resolves all of the above problems.
Developed by officers and for officers, IMP is a turnkey solution to help law enforcement officers with all of their duties. The software was conceived and designed by a group of both active and retired Canadian law enforcement officers.
Using IMP, the cumbersome procedure of law enforcement note-taking is transformed from the clunky and error-prone process above to the following:
- When using IMP, the 911 dispatch details get pushed automatically into the IMP app on the officer’s phone. This both eliminates errors and saves time for the officer because he or she is no longer required to copy the 911 data from the MDT onto the paper notebook.
- There is no longer any need for the officer to copy the person’s details, such as driver’s license or ID card, manually into the proper forms. All the data is automatically imported into the appropriate forms within the IMP app as needed. Again, this saves time and reduces errors.
- The officer has all forms related to the incident/investigation at their fingertips.
- There is no delay in getting the notes into the station’s RMS. Instead of having to physically go to the station to manually scan in notes, the officer simply presses a button in the IMP app, and the data is automatically sent over to the RMS. No risk of data loss. It is a 100% secure data transfer, protected by a patent-pending, multi-layered encryption technology developed by Digital Mobility Inc.
- The instant transfer of secure and unaltered e-notes to the RMS has the added benefit of making them immediately available to supervisors and investigators. This speeds up investigations and can mean the difference between a perpetrator getting away or being brought to justice swiftly. Multiple officers and investigators can receive information from different scenes in real-time.
Additional features to make police-work easier and more efficient
Intelligent Mobile Patrol is not only about note-taking. It is an entire suite of digital tools necessary to assist officers to carry out all their duties. Its purpose is to make the environment safer for Canadian citizens by helping Canada’s police force do its job better.
To that end, the application offers numerous additional features. These include:
- A state-of-the-art speech-to-text feature so that officers can dictate their notes.
- Immediate access to documentation and resources that might be necessary to deal with the incident at hand.
- The ability to attach sketches, voice notes, and photos to notes. These sketches and notes will also be sent to the RMS as needed, all of them time-stamped, thereby further ensuring evidential integrity.
- The ability to work offline when officers are in remote locations.
- Officers can search the notes database via the IMP app and so look at old notes.
- BRAIDMARK®—the patent-pending security feature integrated into IMP—allows courts to immediately verify an officer’s notes through a unique QR code validation process. The technology also eliminates any possibility of note-tampering throughout the evidentiary process.
- IMP is cross-platform. Officers can begin a note on their mobile devices and then finish it off on their computers at the office.
- IMP integrates completely with CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch).
- Arrest forms are available in the app. So are booking and transport forms.
- Parade features and BOLO alerts.
- Push notifications for important events.
In short, every essential element of a police officer’s job has been thought of by officers who did their own duties for years and know what their fellow officers run into.
There is also a version of IMP that is made specifically for investigators.
Currently, investigators carry two paper notebooks. One is used for general calls—the same notebook that officers carry. The second is used specifically for investigations.
IMP integrates both of these notebooks into the app. This way, investigators can start a case, add case notes, and then instantly link intelligence gathered by other investigators to their ongoing case.
The impact on the environment from switching to digital is significant. If Canada’s 68,000+ police officers all write an average of 10 notes a day on A6 paper (a modest estimate), that works out to:
- 680,000 notes a year or
- 170,000 A4 sheets of paper or
- 17 pine trees of over 45 feet!
Considering that pine trees grow only one to two feet a year, that’s at least 22½ years of forest growth destroyed on an outdated system that is prone to flaws.
IMP is ready for use right now!
The use of IMP is not in some far-distant future. Canada’s York Regional Police was the first police force to begin using it, with immediate and noticeable improvement in the way they documented and investigated cases.
And now IMP is openly available and ready for use by all Canadian police departments.
To learn more about how your police department can start using this revolutionary policing tool, contact the team behind IMP here.