HomeResourcesCase studiesOlmsted Falls Police Department puts safety first with new fleet management solution

Case study

Olmsted Falls Police Department puts safety first with new fleet management solution

There are unintended benefits that I wasn't really looking at, but I think are really, really helping the department. It is also, in a real sense, a force multiplier for us.
Odis Rogers
Chief of Police, Olmsted Falls Police Department

Police departments across the country are committed to keeping their communities safe. Olmsted Falls Police Department (OFPD) is no different. OFPD Police Chief Odis Rogers takes pride in the fact that Olmsted Falls—located about 20 miles southwest of Cleveland—is frequently ranked as one of the safest cities in Ohio. Rogers believes that a proactive community approach fosters a safe community. Rogers said:

"I believe that when you have a proactive approach with the community it feeds right into keeping it safe . . . because the people in the community trust us."

Serving a suburban community of 9,000 residents, OFPD manages a staff of 19 officers and a fleet of nine vehicles. OFPD wanted to enhance officer and community safety in line with the new proactive policing policy. But to achieve this goal, the department needed better technology and data to streamline patrolling operations and increase fleet visibility. With this in mind, Rogers turned to Verizon Connect Reveal, an end-to-end fleet management solution that offered OFPD the ability to tackle these challenges.

Confronting fleet management and patrol mapping challenges

Improving fleet visibility and its patrolling operations were key ways OFPD could create more time and space to engage in proactive policing. However, the department grappled with inefficient manual processes. OFPD had a policy of reviewing police pursuits, but officers often had to pull video to verify location data and timestamps, which took time away from their duties to protect and serve.

"If they're spending half their time making sure who they're supervising is doing what they're supposed to do, they're not out patrolling," Rogers said of his sergeants.

The department also takes pride in maintaining a healthy fleet of vehicles. OFPD discovered that too much idle time accelerated wear and tear on its vehicles and further increased fuel costs. Other than direct conversations between sergeants and rank-and-file officers, OFPD didn't have an effective way to track or curb this excessive idling when officers were on patrol.

And above all, there was the safety of his police force. According to Rogers, "Officers' safety is always number one." Knowing where everyone and everything is located would enable Rogers to give his force the support it needed.

Searching for a solution, Rogers partnered with another chief in a neighboring community, Chief Mark Adam of Olmsted Township, with whom OFPD often works closely. Rogers and Adam were both looking for a better way to map police cruisers. Their shared dispatch center’s IT resource suggested a GPS-based solution they could purchase on Amazon that the provider would then retrofit to their patrol cars. But that didn't seem sufficient to Rogers and Adam.

"Mark and I both felt like we don't want to do this halfway," Rogers said. "We want to make sure what we're doing is backed up by technology."

Uncovering a better solution for bolstering community and officer safety

Looking for an alternative, Chief Adam discovered Verizon Connect Reveal and began gathering more information that he shared with Rogers. Once Rogers assessed the solution, he knew it could help his department.

From reviewing pursuits and managing fuel costs to reducing idle time and advancing officer safety, Rogers discovered Verizon Connect Reveal offered several capabilities OFPD needed. In addition, the solution could give officers more time to focus on other priorities, like proactive policing. Rogers noted:

"There are unintended benefits that I wasn't really looking at, but I think are really, really helping the department.  . . . It is also, in a real sense, a force multiplier for us."

OFPD installed Verizon Connect Reveal on its eight patrol cars and one detective car. The intuitive fleet management platform allows users to see near-real-time vehicle activity and view historical data using advanced GPS tracking and live mapping capabilities.

Live Maps allows supervisors to quickly see officers' locations and know their whereabouts at any given time, helping to promote their safety. "If an officer is somewhere and either they're down or their radios are down, the other officers know exactly where they are," Rogers said.

The solution also helps keep the community safe. Rogers said the department sometimes gets calls from residents with concerns about not seeing officers patrol their neighborhood, but using the solution's Route Replay features, OFPD can go back and see when officers were last there. This feature also helps with proactive policing because the department can easily pinpoint where it needs to step up engagement efforts and increase touchpoints in certain neighborhoods. All of this helps reassure Olmsted Falls residents of their safety.

Rogers and supervisors receive reports on driver and vehicle activity, such as speeding, idling, fuel efficiency and routes traveled. They all have an account where they can access this near real time data from their desktop, Reveal's Mobile Manager app or via text and email alerts.

To reduce fuel and maintenance costs, OFPD supervisors regularly review idling reports. According to Rogers, they no longer need to have several one-on-one conversations because on-duty officers know the solution is tracking idle time.

"This opens up time for supervisors and OICs [officers in charge]," he revealed. "It's just less supervision. Verizon is doing the job for us."

Delivering meaningful results, modernizing department operations

Rogers said Verizon Connect Reveal is so easy and intuitive to use that it seamlessly fits into both his and his supervisors' everyday duties.

The daily data they get from the solution helps them monitor officers' driving and patrolling behavior to advise, coach and improve their performance. The department also has streamlined reviews for pursuits and other incidents. It now knows where to target its efforts because Verizon Connect Reveal provides timestamped and location-based information.

Importantly, the GPS feature assures officers they have backup if they need help. "If you're in a park, you slipped, you hit your head, you're not answering the radio dispatch, they . . . know where you are," Rogers said.

Rogers said the solution has been invaluable for sharing information with the community to improve accountability and transparency within the department. It allows OFPD to highlight great officer performance and promote a positive work environment, which helps it retain good officers.

"We knew it was important that we use this data to praise publicly whenever we can," Rogers said.

For Rogers, it's not just a new technology, it's peace of mind. "It's just a pretty good feeling as chief to be able to pull the (report) up in the morning and go ‘Our whole city was covered last night.’ "

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Tags: Community, Cost control, Customer Service, Data & Analytics, Dispatching & Scheduling, Fleet utilization, Fuel cost management, Performance & Coaching, Productivity & Efficiency, Routing, Safety, Team Management, Training, Vehicle & asset security, Vehicle Maintenance