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Enhancing public safety using the cloud: The future of policing with hosted enterprise solutions

A paradigm shift from on-premises to cloud-hosted is transforming the way agencies operate

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As police IT hardware infrastructure ages, agencies are actively looking for solutions to enable 21st-century policing while meeting the stringent demands of their budget.

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By Joshua Lee

In an era where the demands on public safety agencies are ever-increasing, technological advancements are the cornerstone of effective law enforcement. Among the most significant developments is the transition from traditional on-premises solutions, which require costly maintenance and a large IT staff to maintain, to a hosted public safety solution, which requires no on-premises maintenance and allows agency IT staff to focus on technology used in the agency, not software solutions. Agencies are transforming the way they operate when making the shift to cloud-hosted solutions from traditional on-premise methods.

One success story worth examining is the experience of the Jersey Village Police Department as they adopted Tyler Technologies’ hosted public safety solutions. This article explores the reasons behind the agency’s choice, the benefits reaped from hosted solutions, and the invaluable features that keep public safety personnel ahead of the curve.

Embracing the cloud: Why Jersey Village PD opted for hosted solutions

As police IT hardware infrastructure ages, agencies are actively looking for solutions to enable 21st-century policing while meeting the stringent demands of their budget. Lieutenant Heath Hawley of the Jersey Village (Texas) Police Department sat down with Police1 to educate readers about Tyler Technologies’ cloud-hosted solutions for public safety.

Lt. Hawley explained that one of the decisions to migrate to hosted solutions was rooted in a commitment to modernize and optimize police operations. Jersey Village PD is situated on the northwest side of Houston near the city limits. Despite Jersey Villages’ small size, the agency is busy and active in its operations. Dispatchers are tasked with managing response times while trying to relay critical data like location details and people alerts to officers. But Jersey Village’s old systems struggled to keep up with the demand. With Tyler, dispatchers are notified of warrant information through alerts, making it easy to quickly relay the information that officers need.

Accurate data analysis and analytics were another reason Jersey Village PD chose Tyler.

“It takes me literally seconds to pull weekly stats of officer activity that are forwarded to the city manager and then to the city council. I put in my date range and go to which group I want to select those calls for, and I get that immediately. The ease of this allows me to spend more time on other tasks and assignments,” said Lt. Hawley.

Hawley further explained an agency can customize groups and fields so that when a call for service is entered, it can be recorded correctly. This functionality is particularly important for command staff and budgeting.

“The use of this is multilayered,” said Hawley. “It can be used for crime reduction activities, justifying a needed increase in the budget for additional officers or special equipment. It has also been used to evaluate current city ordinances and to determine if they need to be updated.”

Furthermore, if an officer takes a report, the system will route the case to the appropriate group, which improves case management and ensures the agency manages all cases correctly and within the scope of its policy.

Unveiling the benefits of hosted solutions

Transitioning from on-premises solutions to cloud solutions can be daunting for many police leaders who are used to being in complete control of all aspects of police IT. Fortunately, there have been significant improvements in security for government technology, including secured, encrypted services like Amazon Web Service (AWS). AWS is a global leader in cloud technology with the largest exclusive software provider to the public service. Tyler’s collaboration with AWS helps ensure hosted solutions are safe and secure for government use.

Transitioning to cloud-hosted public safety solutions, with the support of Jersey Village’s city administration and city council, brought many benefits to Jersey Village PD. Lt. Hawley explained:

Liberated IT staff

One of the key selling points of cloud-hosted public safety technology is the drastic improvement of a local agency’s IT staff’s time and resources. Agency IT staff are freed from software maintenance, allowing for an improved focus on innovation and support for the agency’s operations.

Unparalleled data security

Because cloud solutions are hosted outside the agency, the hosting company is responsible for providing robust data security measures and safeguarding sensitive information against cyber threats. Since police agencies deal with sensitive information daily, data protection and security are always a top concern.

Software updates made effortless

One of the biggest complaints from PD IT staff surrounds maintaining software updates and pushing them out while minimizing downtime. With Tyler’s hosted solutions, system updates have become easier than ever before. Agencies can rest assured that they always operate on the latest software, ensuring optimal performance and compliance with evolving regulations.

Features that make a difference

Among the many features and benefits of Tyler’s hosted public safety solutions Lt. Hawley said they most appreciated the ease of use and design of the Tyler system. Law enforcement agencies cannot afford to be bogged down by outdated software, and Jersey Village was able to eliminate this concern by keeping software current, and ensuring mission-critical solutions are always available when needed.

Another benefit of cloud-based solutions is that the agency does not need to worry about losing data. This is particularly important in areas that may suffer from natural disasters or have an aging IT infrastructure. If agencies store their data on premises and a natural disaster strikes, they risk losing that data if the hard drives fail. Many cloud-hosting solutions store data, often in several places, so the agency can still access the software and data without downtime when a natural disaster strikes. Tyler goes one step forward by adhering to federal guidelines for backup and storage.

Because of all the pros of hosted solutions, Lt. Hawley explained their command staff, dispatchers and officers adjusted quickly. “We recognize the long-term benefits of the transition to the cloud. The cost savings, the improved operations and minimal downtime on updates was really a no-brainer.” If, for some reason, Jersey Village PD had an issue, Tyler Technologies was quick to help them.

The future of public safety technology

The Jersey Village Police Department’s experience with Tyler’s hosted public safety solutions serves as a testament to the future of public safety. By moving to the cloud, agencies ensure their mission-critical solutions are reliable and capable of evolving with the ever-changing landscape of law enforcement. The benefits of liberated IT staff, enhanced data security and effortless software updates make hosted solutions the go-to choice for modernizing public safety agencies. In embracing this technology, agencies position themselves to better serve and protect their communities, ensuring their operations run smoothly, efficiently and securely. Jersey Village PD recognized the future of public safety technology is in the cloud, and they’re already experiencing benefits of embracing from making the switch.

About the author
Joshua Lee is an active-duty police sergeant for the City of Mesa (Arizona) Police Department. Before promoting, Joshua served five years as a patrol officer and six years as a detective with the Organized Crime Section investigating civil asset forfeiture, white-collar financial crime and cryptocurrency crimes.