Trending Topics
Sponsored Content

How an AI-powered app can cut report-writing time (and all the stress that comes with it)

Streamlined reporting means officers can produce more accurate narratives in less time

Sponsored by
Article_Image.png

Caseify is an iPhone-based app that officers can use on-the-go to capture evidence, record narratives and create reports.

Caseify

“I got into law enforcement so I could write reports,” said no one ever. Although police academies don’t typically spend much time training officers how to write report narratives, report writing is a mandatory and critically important part of the job. It is also one of the most time-consuming – a 2021 survey by Nuance Communications found most officers spend up to a third of their work time writing incident reports or completing other documentation.

In an era where most law enforcement agencies are short staffed, time spent writing reports – while important – is time spent not patrolling the streets, not preventing and investigating crimes and not responding to emergencies. But, when officers do write reports, they can’t shortchange the process. The information must be accurate, thorough and unbiased – or they risk undermining the case.

“When you’re writing the reports, everything must be extremely accurate. You don’t want to put words in other people’s mouths or make assumptions about their thoughts or feelings,” said Officer Tracy Braun, who has been in law enforcement for over 20 years. She now serves as a school resource officer with Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education Police Department in Georgia.

“It’s very easy for some officers to unintentionally put their feelings or assumptions into narratives, and that can be extremely detrimental to a case if or when it ever goes to court,” said Braun. “Depending on how involved your case is, it can be very challenging and time consuming to make sure the narratives are written in an unbiased voice.”

Officers are also under pressure to not only put in a full shift, but make sure they don’t fall too far behind in writing reports. Braun warned, “The longer you wait, the more chances of forgetting something – and it could be something which would seem so small on the outside but can be pivotal to any sort of narrative.”

THE STRUGGLE TO KEEP UP

Time to write accurate, thorough and unbiased reports can be hard to find. For Braun, that time usually came at the end of a full shift, which interfered with quality family time. “I can’t tell you how many family functions, birthdays, holidays, school events and important projects I missed in the last 20 years due to working past the end of my shift to complete reports. Some police departments will look at it as the officer’s inability to manage their time properly, but, in reality, it has nothing to do with time management – it has to do with caseload, complexity of those cases, and all the other duties consuming our time. So, a good officer just does what they must, and unfortunately you lose your own valuable time.”

Days where an officer is going from one incident to the next with no time between calls are stressful enough. Falling behind on report-writing only compounds the stress and adds to the mountain of paperwork at the end of the day.

“Once an officer starts getting behind, that seems to snowball,” said Braun. “Then you have the stress of `Are the narratives correct? Did I forget something?’ Especially if you have back-to-back calls, you don’t want to confuse your first call with your third call with your seventh call of the day.”

It may seem that today’s police officers are stuck in a proverbial Catch-22. Fewer officers mean longer shifts and more calls that make it even harder to get that all-important report writing done. Falling behind on report-writing done can lead to errors and additional time wasted making corrections – which leads to yet more stress.

But two friends – a law enforcement officer and a Navy veteran and app developer – found a way out of that Catch-22. Knowing that artificial intelligence can process and analyze massive amounts of information almost instantaneously, the duo realized AI could be leveraged to alleviate the heavy burden of report writing. So, for the last eight months, they spent their talents and free time developing an app for law enforcement officers that would do just that.

HOW AI SPEEDS THE PROCESS AND INCREASES ACCURACY

Caseify, a case management and report-writing app for iPhone, gives individual police officers an easy-to-use, inexpensive way to gather case information and generate a detailed and accurate narrative in a fraction of the time it would take by hand.

Officers can use their iPhone to record witness statements, write field notes, scan documents and take photos. The information is organized and stored locally on the user’s device, maximizing security while allowing use of Caseify’s file storage and management systems while offline.

Caseify then leverages artificial intelligence to analyze the case files and generate detailed narratives based on the content. The AI is programmed to remove potential bias and avoid miscommunication, resulting in a narrative with better punctuation, grammar and clarity – essentially teaching officers how to properly word their narratives to avoid biased reporting. The app also works with over 100 languages, allowing officers to take statements in other languages without a translator present.

It’s important to note that Caseify does not replace the need for the individual officer to review and verify the accuracy of the reports it generates, but it significantly speeds up the process.

Once the narrative is generated, the officer can review it for accuracy and make any necessary edits before sharing the narrative to their department’s incident reporting software.

Caseify also adheres to the highest level of data privacy and security, so officers can feel confident in using Caseify to make the dreaded task of report writing more efficient while improving quality.

PUTTING CASEIFY TO THE TEST

Braun had the opportunity to work with Caseify before it was released. “I thought it sounded really cool, but I wasn’t sure how that would play out because I had never been involved with anything AI before.”

Braun described an extensive case she was working to one of the developers, who suggested testing the Caseify app to organize, condense, clarify and generate a narrative. The case included a file an inch thick and spanned more than a year.

“He opened the app, clicked ‘add attachment,’ and I started recording my description of the case file into the app. When I finished talking, he clicked on ‘generate narrative,’ and handed me the phone to view the results. I was blown away!” said Braun. “I had a full narrative and supplemental divided and labeled appropriately. Having a journalism degree is a bonus in law enforcement, but I’m sad to say it outwrites me every single time.”

Braun has continued to use the Caseify app since late 2023. “One particular day I had five rather involved cases and needed the narratives before the end of shift. I did all the narratives in between driving from one call to another. So, what would have taken me no less than four hours easily took me less than 30 minutes.”

A MENTAL RELIEF

Not only does Caseify alleviate the time burden – saving individual officers up to 10 hours per week, according to other users – it also alleviates some of the stress officers feel when they are behind in their report writing or don’t feel confident in their writing skills.

“Caseify gives you the ability to stay caught up on your reports, making work mentally easier for officers,” said Braun. “It takes a lot of stress off us. There’s less confusion, less chance of error, better reports and better narratives.”

Braun also delights in seeing other officers use the app and experience the same degree of amazement as she did.

“Every officer I’ve ever shown the app to, I get the wide-eyed look. Their jaw drops and I see the look of awe and wonder on their face when they read a narrative for the first time,” Braun added. “To see an officer experience that is such a joy because I personally know how it has absolutely transformed my life and the time I get back with my family.”

For information, visit Caseify.

Download the Caseify app here and get started today.

Laura Neitzel is Director of Branded Content for Lexipol, where she produces written and multimedia branded content of relevance to a public safety audience, including law enforcement, fire, EMS and corrections. She holds degrees in English from the University of Texas and the University of North Texas, and has over 20 years’ experience writing and producing branded and educational content for nationally-recognized companies, government agencies, non-profits and advocacy organizations.