Ever hear of CivicEye? It's pretty cutting edge!

After one upstate police department realized their outdated records management system was holding them back, they turned to a new kind of technology.

But a major obstacle stood in their way of modernizing their systems - funding.

That's when the department's chief got creative.

A Vision for Technology

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Like many small town authorities, the Saranac Lake Police Department struggled with small budgets and lengthy to-do lists. Unlike the police departments shown on television programs, most small town departments have limited access to the mind-blowing technology people see on the screen.

Things changed for Saranac Lake when Chief Darin Perrotte was appointed in February 2022. One of his first moves was to perform an audit of the agency's operations.

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That move to streamline the department produced a glaring issue: an outdated records management system. Perrotte found that shortcoming was forcing his officers to work harder than they had to - which meant it needed to be replaced.

That's when he turned his attention toward a new type of criminal justice technology that would bring his department into 2023 and beyond: CivicEye.

The program is hailed as a platform for public safety by delivering easy-to-use cloud software designed to assist with daily workflows and enhancing outcomes.

The program lets departments share data with neighboring agencies, access data analytic tools, or view updates in real time.

Perrotte knew this would bring much needed relief to the department and make it more efficient - but he needed to find a way to get the funding to acquire it.

Funding the Future

Chief Perrotte knew the department wouldn't be able to purchase the program outright, but he knew the investment would be well worth it.

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The chief got to work poring through various loan and grant options before finding state-specific grant-funding opportunities via the New York State Division of Criminal Justice. That helped him acquire the CivicRMS program.

Said Perrotte:

Grant funding is how I purchased our new RMS. We now will be able to create better databases, reports, master name indexes, master vehicle files, and more. These tools are indispensable for our everyday investigations and case resolutions, and they're a force multiplier, too.

CivicRMS helps streamline an officer's ability to access different systems and applications. Basically it declutters the process and allows them to seamlessly switch between their CAD and JMS systems.

It also has enhanced search that allows real-time access to millions of records. It also comes with improved state and federal reporting to help officers quickly access quality data.

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Khristian Gutierrez, CEO of CivicEye, points out that the barriers preventing police departments from accessing such technology need to be removed.

She also finds it bizarre that officers have to use outdated systems that most other industries have already removed due to upgrades.

These are functions that other industries take for granted in their day-to-day jobs. How can we expect our public safety agencies to operate with less technology than the average American has on their iPhone?

That said, she is excited to see how the new tech will benefit Saranac Lake. She also hopes that this move will push the needle towards more departments upgrading their systems.

Saranac Lake is leveraging technology through grant funding opportunities to mitigate the issues that many, if not the majority, of police agencies across the country are facing. Our mission is to support law enforcement with technology that helps them do their job better—by saving officers time, providing them with critical access to potentially life-saving information, and, ultimately, improving community outcomes.

In addition to CivicRMS, Chief Perrotte was able to secure funding to purchase a state-of-the-art TruNarc device for drug testing for his department, as well as new tasers and body cameras.

The department also added an e-bike patrol.

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Perrotte also hopes the changes to Saranac Lake PD will encourage other departments to begin the process of updating their systems and explore the options they have,

To agencies that want to make change: the resources are there. Contact your local division, figure out what your agency needs most in operations, and prioritize that.

The news comes as police departments across NY investigate streamlining and cost-saving measures. Here in Central NY, there's been talks to merge Oneida County and Herkimer County's emergency 911 services.

Read More: 2 Central NY Counties Explore Consolidation of 911 Services

In the meantime, Saranac PD are hopeful this is just the beginning for a revitalized and streamlined police force.

For more information on grant funding opportunities, visit the U.S. Department of Justice's COPS website.

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