Across the country, staffing shortages are leading to complex problems in law enforcement. One of the prevailing concerns among agencies and the communities they serve is the rising length of time for police response times.
While several agencies have seen an uptick in response times during the past year, some are turning to technology to help streamline operations and deliver better customer service to their communities – even if their agencies are no longer responding on-scene to minor crashes. CARFAX for Police offers Driver Exchange, a digital crash reporting tool that helps agencies save time on the side of the road and beyond. Durango Police Department discusses how they’ve been able to create efficiencies with Driver Exchange.
SOLVING A RANGE OF PROBLEMS
Aside from freeing up time so officers can respond to more calls, Driver Exchange helps overcome other common challenges that can arise when clearing crash scenes.
“We were interested in implementing Driver Exchange to replace our existing method of using handwritten paper exchange forms to collect information from drivers,” said Dan Kellermeyer, an officer at Durango Police Department in Colorado. “Our process of using handwritten forms was time-consuming and caused a lot of headaches for our officers and citizens.”
Not only were the paper forms often unreadable as a result of bad handwriting or getting wet in rain or snow, but they were sometimes lost and provided little in the way of data security. Kellermeyer says Durango PD was excited to implement Driver Exchange to reduce their time spent on-scene while also helping them digitize their crash report data. This provides efficiencies and improves the accuracy of information, greatly benefiting records departments as well.
FOUR WAYS TO SAVE TIME
No shift is the same, and Driver Exchange was developed to provide departments with flexibility in determining how to respond to minor crashes with four response modes.
1. Officer-Operated Reporting
When a department has the resources available to respond on-scene to minor vehicle crashes, officers can use the officer-operated reporting feature to speed up information collection, clear crash scenes quicker and redeploy units faster.
“Officer-operated reporting is the main way our officers use Driver Exchange,” said Kellermeyer. “While one officer investigates the crash and issues a citation, the other is collecting and verifying driver and insurance information.”
By scanning barcodes on drivers’ licenses directly into the CARFAX for Police Driver Exchange app, officers can enter information quickly and reduce data entry errors, which is also a benefit to records departments. Vehicle registrations and VINs can also be scanned easily by the app.
2. Officer-Guided Reporting
Departments that routinely dispatch only one officer to vehicle crashes can take advantage of officer-guided reporting. This method allows drivers to begin filling out their information via a secure link while the officer clears or investigates the scene.
Before using Driver Exchange, officers would provide both drivers a paper form to fill out while they investigated the crash scene, explains Kellermeyer.
“Using Driver Exchange has allowed us to reduce our time on-scene as CARFAX intuitively guides the citizens through how to provide all the necessary information,” he said.
3. Remote-Start Reporting
If your agency places a lower priority on responding to minor vehicle crashes, officers can send involved drivers a secure link to begin completing the information exchange while they wait for police to arrive.
“There are times when an officer may be called to a crash scene that is far away,” said Kellermeyer. “In these instances, the officer can call the reporting party and let them know they will receive a link to start entering their information. While the citizen is waiting for the officer to arrive, they can get the ball rolling with data collection, and often they are finished entering the information upon the officer’s arrival.”
4. Citizen Self-Reporting
Agencies that are short-handed or that no longer send an officer to the scene can use CARFAX Driver Exchange to facilitate the exchange of information. The involved parties receive a fast digital response that comes directly from the agency. This provides a simple way for citizens to report an accident without having to wait extended periods for an officer to be available. It’s a positive touch point for citizens as well, getting them what they need to file an insurance claim and getting them back to their day as quickly as possible.
MAKING IT EASY FOR EVERYONE
Lingering at the scene of a vehicle crash can be dangerous for everyone involved, making Driver Exchange a tool that improves the safety of officers and drivers alike. For officers in Durango, crashes are now cleared in half the time thanks to CARFAX for Police.
Durango PD also notes its records department receives far fewer calls from citizens requesting crash reports as Driver Exchange provides the information they need to file a claim instantly.
“Citizens can get back to their days quicker, start insurance claims quicker and don’t have to worry about messy handwriting or losing a paper form,” said Kellermeyer.
Agencies in Colorado can also take advantage of an export feature that allows information from Driver Exchange to auto-populate into the state-required crash report.
“Officers love using these tools,” Kellermeyer added. “I’ve even had an officer tell me they actually don’t mind handling crash investigations as much now that we have more efficient and user-friendly tools to help.”
Visit CARFAX for Police for more information.