Bureau of Communications and Bureau of Computer Services
Nothing shows how the St. Louis County Police Department leads in the world of law enforcement more than the technological innovations we have developed and implemented. As early as the beginning of the 1970's, the Department leadership recognized the importance of the emerging information technology. This recognition led to the creation of a special Data Processing Unit
, whose staff was dedicated solely to police-related computer system development. This decision on self-reliance and innovative thinking continues to ensure that experienced police personnel design and develop computer systems that meet the unique needs of law enforcement. We installed the first Computer-Aided Dispatching (CAD) system in the region and within a year had developed the first generation Computer-Assisted Report Entry Record Management System (CARE RMS). CARE has since gone on to receive nationwide recognition in the law enforcement and the computer industry. From these early successes, the Department has expanded its operations from mere data processing
to the use of state-of-the-art information technology as the core of the Department's law enforcement procedures.
Two of the Office's Bureaus are especially important to the Department's position as an innovator in the field of law enforcement technology: the Bureau of Computer Services
and Bureau of Communications
. These two bureaus develop and use the newest computer technology available to law enforcement with the goal of providing better and faster service to our citizens. For instance, Computer Aided Dispatching and the successful integration of the multi-jurisdictional Emergency 911 system has greatly reduced the time to locate and send the closest available police unit to an emergency call for service.
The Computer Aided Dispatching (CAD)
system relies on the latest in technology and design. A graphic user interface brings mapping and call
placement to the dispatcher in seconds, while in-car laptop computers bring Headquarters—and access to extensive information systems—right into the front seat of every patrol car. Time and effort spent away from the streets and neighborhoods during preliminary investigations—completing records searches and inquiries—are virtually eliminated by enabling the performance of these tasks in the car, keeping our officers closer to the citizens. These laptop computers access criminal records, digitized mug shot photographs and police report files, in addition to calls for service and other administrative files used every day by our officers.
Working in tandem with the CAD system is the nationally-recognized, award-winning Computer-Assisted Report Entry (CARE) system, a highly complex
computer-based records management system. For more than two decades officers have used CARE to quickly dictate their reports by phone and return to service. Upgrading CARE has moved this database to laptops in any equipped patrol vehicle. This efficiency allows more time for investigations, patrol, or other problems that affect the quality of life in our neighborhoods. At the same time, the Department now collects data for crime analysis, allowing the efficient redeployment of its officers based on emerging crime trends or patterns.
Reports from these systems are standardized, legible and meet both Federal Uniform Crime Report (UCR) and National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS) reporting guidelines. With this new format, concise records management and detailed crime analysis are just seconds away. Most importantly, CARE is shared technology, developed by the St. Louis County Police Department for police agencies, with no software costs. Personnel costs for report entry and the hardware to install CARE access in individual agencies are the only real expenses.