Mike Driscoll is a Records Clerk and a Valcour CAD/RMS™ Trainer at Burlington, VT Police Department.
Q What’s your experience with NIBRS before Valcour CAD/RMS™?
A My background in NIBRS had been limited to my experiences in our older CAD/RMS system. From the experience I do have in both, Valcour CAD/RMS™ has proven to be a much more user-friendly and intuitive system. I am also getting similar feedback from users of other CAD/RMS systems in Vermont.
Q What aspect of NIBRS sets Valcour CAD/RMS™ apart from other, more traditional CAD/RMS systems?
A Whereas other NIBRS systems use the FBI error code language which can be described as “vague” at best, Valcour CAD/RMS™ tells you where the problem is and gives possible steps to fix it, making the user feel like an expert even on their first run! Personally, NIBRS has gone from one of the scariest parts of my job to one of the most straightforward thanks to all of the work CrossWind has put into the NIBRS portion of Valcour CAD/RMS™.
Q Do you have any general comments on usage of Valcour CAD/RMS™ for NIBRS in particular and Records in general?
A I have to say that CrossWind has been one of the most responsive vendors I have ever worked with, and I put 100% faith in the fact that even if Valcour CAD/RMS™ is not working the way we want it to at a particular moment, they will make it so in as timely a fashion as possible. Valcour CAD/RMS™ is already miles ahead of any other CAD/RMS I’ve worked with, and with time I think that gap will be insurmountable.
Q How did NIBRS training go with the other 8 agencies you are mentoring in Vermont? Did it take much time to train NIBRS personnel?
A We were training long time veteran Records staff from throughout the state, so the session was more like a group brainstorming session than a traditional training class. Because of the ease of use of Valcour CAD/RMS™ NIBRS, we spent most of our time troubleshooting tricky hypothetical scenarios, in which everyone gave and received a lot of great feedback. I am looking forward to training individuals completely new to NIBRS in the future!
Q How is the mentoring process going? Are the other agencies able to come up to speed with NIBRS in a timely fashion?
A Overall, I have not had much to do other than the occasional email or phone call to clarify a particularly troublesome error. Valcour CAD/RMS™ NIBRS is so self-explanatory that the experienced Records Clerks I have been working with have had very few problems they can’t solve on their own. With the addition of a NIBRS FAQ into Valcour CAD/RMS™ Help, I think the vast majority of these questions will be covered by the FAQ and save everyone time going forward.
Jonathan Namdar is a Police Officer First Class at the South Burlington Police Department, a member of the Vermont Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force and a Valcour CAD/RMS™ Mentor.
Q How did the Roll Out at South Burlington Police Department go?
A As the Valcour CAD/RMS™ Program Manager for SBPD, I had direct contact with CrossWind on a regular (and, at times, hourly) basis just prior to and after Go-Live. The staff at CrossWind addressed our concerns immediately and offered suggestions and workarounds. As we continued to use the system and determined our needs required additional features, the system was tailored to meet these needs.
Q How would you compare the rollout of Valcour CAD/RMS™ with upgrades of your old RMS?
A When South Burlington Police (VT) went live on Valcour CAD/RMS™, the process went remarkably well. This was the Agency’s first major RMS upgrade in nearly a decade and the potential for significant challenges was high, particularly since we were only second nationwide to adopt this program. Despite the potential pitfalls, South Burlington Police worked with a mentor agency in cooperation with CrossWind to minimize issues. At 0700 hours on April 30, 2012 we “flipped the switch” and haven’t looked back. Having used several other RMS systems in my career, both Law Enforcement based and not, I have found my experience with Valcour to be extremely positive.
The web based format allows minimal downtime while allowing changes to be pushed whenever needed, as situations dictate. It also significantly reduced the time needed to install; the previous system took almost two hours per PC whereas Valcour CAD/RMS™ takes a matter of just a few minutes to update across the entire agency.
Q When you served as a roll out Mentor to other agencies, how did Valcour CAD/RMS™ fit with their workflows?
A My experience from an early phase of development also allowed me to be a Mentor for several other agencies after we went live. During the most recent Go-Live process, I mentored two agencies (out of 6), each with vastly different missions than any of the agencies which were already using Valcour CAD/RMS™. The missions and workflows of the Vermont DMV and the Chittenden County Sheriff’s Department were diverse, but we executed both roll-outs simultaneously in just 90 days, start-to-finish. Our weekly Valcour CAD/RMS™ Program Manager Meetings with CrossWind enabled us to meet with our peer Program Managers and bring together our LE experience to solve problems, increase efficiency and have a direct impact on ongoing Valcour CAD/RMS™ development and updates.
Q Please describe the Mentor Program you used to roll Valcour CAD/RMS™ out to 6 additional agencies
A By creating a support system in-state based on Program Managers who have already had success with Valcour CAD/RMS™, we form a support cooperative and are able to provide an environment that is not overly technical for new agencies. Users unfamiliar with the system received role specific training tailored to their job requirements from Mentors who generally were law enforcement or affiliated personnel. The Valcour CAD/RMS™ Mentors and Program Managers work in a cooperative support environment also allows us to pool expertise and educate one another.
Q How is Valcour CAD/RMS™ working at your agency?
A Despite the simple, easy-to-use user interface, Valcour CAD/RMS™ tracks all the data that is captured by traditional CAD/RMS’s. The reporting features are not as rich as our old CAD/RMS, but it takes about 1/10th of the time to get through our paperwork. The old system would slice-and-dice reports in almost any way you wanted but it took about 4 hours to process the supplemental paperwork for a single arrest, whereas Valcour CAD/RMS™ takes 30 minutes. Additionally, the ability to share data with neighboring agencies instantly, without picking up a phone and “calling around” as well as the ability to completely handle and process complaints in the field saves a tremendous amount of time.