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You left your firearm where? 3 tips for avoiding the costly mistake of losing your agency’s assets

It’s not just the police equipment that matters – smart asset management supports officer safety and productivity

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Failure to improve asset management efficiency can prove to be costly for law enforcement agencies of all sizes.


Sponsored by Operative IQ

By Yoona Ha, Police1 BrandFocus Staff

Major shifts in the policing landscape over the past 20 years have required law enforcement agencies to become more efficient in asset management to ensure that officers have the tools they need to better protect the people and the communities they serve.

But in today’s data-driven law enforcement landscape, asset management has transformed to go beyond tagging and stashing equipment. Maintaining a secure chain of custody has become increasingly important, especially when departments are investing more to protect the safety of police. This can translate into more expensive and specialized tools, such as armored vehicles, rugged laptops, body cameras and mobile command centers, just to name a few.

But managing an expanding inventory of police equipment, specialized gear and fleet vehicles is often a challenge, especially when agencies don’t have a central portal where leadership can view an inventory overview that answers the following questions:

  • Is my agency at risk of asset loss?
  • Does my asset tracking system include firearms, ballistic protection and qualifications?
  • Can my staff easily communicate needs for asset repairs or replacement?

Failure to improve asset management efficiency can prove to be costly. For instance, in 2014, an investigative report found that 184 state and local police departments were suspended from the Pentagon’s 1033 Program, which gives agencies access to surplus military equipment because they failed to comply with the program guidelines that require no surplus assets to be missing.

You don’t want your department to discover that a critical piece of police inventory has gone missing until it’s too late. Waiting until an internal audit is concluded can be a huge mistake. That’s why having an effective asset management system in place that leverages the latest technology and best practices are crucial to every modern police department.

Follow the simple steps outlined below to make sure that your department can keep track of all your assets and fleet to reduce loss, theft and the consequences of assets missing in action.

Ensure that your asset tracking system helps you locate your firearms

Not too long ago, reports of a shooting in Baltimore unveiled a chilling revelation about the pistol found at the scene: The gun was stolen from a police officer who had reported it missing. It’s every police chief’s nightmare to find out that a stolen law enforcement weapon was used to commit crimes like aggravated assault or even homicide.

To ensure that your department is leveraging safe gun storage policies to mitigate loss and risk, consider an asset management system like Operative IQ that continuously tracks inventory in the field. This platform promotes transparency across your organization by providing officers with visibility across a distributed supply chain. Establishing a secure chain of custody is easy with Operative IQ, since it allows all movements of a firearm to be electronically logged on any device at your headquarters or in the field, and Operative IQ’s platform captures real-time user updates. Field Officers have visibility into past maintenance and inspections with the ability to document issues or repairs needed. Training personnel can also log inspections and track firearm qualifications, including parts replaced, ammo issued to officers and rounds fired at the range.

With streamlined processes that reduce inventory problems, managing your agency’s operations can get a whole lot easier.

Comprehensive tracking that includes the police fleet

What you don’t often see in law enforcement operations management is a system that also includes the police fleet. The importance of tracking the fleet is more than helping officers figure out their vehicle’s availability – it also includes everything from vehicle diagnostics to preventative maintenance.

Operative IQ’s fleet maintenance software allows your department to stay on top of needed scheduled maintenance and ad-hoc repair requests while using customized reports to identify trends and determine your total cost of ownership. An electronic check sheet allows officers to capture mileage, updates, or issues live making this data is instantly available to management. This way, you don’t have to shuffle through your vehicle logs and checklists – you have access to all fleet information in one place including current work orders, scheduled maintenance and historical documentation for completed work.

The platform’s fleet telematics feature offers real-time vehicle information to include engine alerts, vehicle diagnostics, GPS with geo-fences, trip history and driver insights to give you total control. Automate the vehicle maintenance process with telematics and employ a fleet management solution to gain peace of mind that your vehicles and officers are ready to serve.

Having a centralized database where all assets are managed can make the tedious task of comparing inventory counts to purchasing records a more streamlined process with total oversight. Agency staff can then focus on day-to-day operations rather than having to worry about consistency issues with asset management, (which can be a real challenge if your quartermaster gets promoted or transitions out). When hundreds of thousands or even millions worth of assets are on the line, you want to be in the know.

Straightforward integration and access

Implementing a new platform requires proper onboarding. Operative IQ offers police staff various options ranging from self-guided training to personalized training through assisted implementation. An assigned project lead for your agency (this can be your quartermaster or designated staff) will work directly with an Operative IQ trainer to ensures that your assets are loaded properly, your processes are established, and staff is comfortable working in the platform. No matter what your agency’s needs are, Operative IQ can get you up and running smoothly in your new software solution.

Other features include:

  • Online resources, access to training and support teams and a dedicated account manager.
  • Integration with active directory.
  • Customizable access levels for assets (restriction settings can be adjusted).
  • An electronic check sheet (especially handy for fleet and asset service tickets).
  • Custom integration projects available for existing systems.

Effective asset management helps officers focus on their jobs to protect the communities they serve. Giving them the tools to do that job without the hassle of having to keep track of equipment may sound like a small plus, but it can lead to productivity gains and a reduction in waste caused by the mismanagement of assets.

Don’t let your agency incur the risk of a mismanaged firearm or the costs of an unmanaged fleet. Your agency can prevent those costs by adopting a more efficient asset management system.

Yoona is a branded content project lead with Lexipol Brand Studio. She frequently covers public safety technology. Her bylines have appeared on The New York Times, Crain’s New York Business, the Chicago Tribune and many more. Yoona is working on getting her master of science in public health at the UNC Gillings School of Public Health.