We’ve been lucky enough to have worked with Tyler Technologies for a few years now. What does Tyler Technologies do? Here’s what it says on their website:
Tyler Technologies is the largest company in the United States exclusively focused on providing integrated software and technology services to the public sector. We deliver an expansive portfolio of software solutions that span the breadth and depth of the mission-critical services for the public sector.
- Appraisal & Tax
- Courts & Justice
- ERP / Financial
- Land & Vital Records
So, what does all this mean? Tyler has some great relationships with local governments and they serve them by helping to make their jobs more effective by bringing them innovative solutions. In fact, Tyler has been doing some amazing things and has been fearless with respect to bringing emerging tech to schools, courtrooms, police departments, and many more public scenarios. This one in particular, Mobile CAD, is pretty incredible.
The Tyler Technology team in Lubbock, Texas had an idea. In listening to the needs of their Customers, Police Departments, they constructed a strategy and a team around the concept of helping Police Officers and other first responders to experience improved communications and access to data from the field. To date, many police cars are equipped with a rugged laptop that links to the department dispatching system and also gives access to various records while the Police Officers are in the field. Those machines are a dated technology, are expensive to replace, and don’t represent the best form factors that are available today in technology. The nature of Police work suggests, obviously, that Officers depend on data and communications in ways that can at times be mission or life-critical. Improving the way Officers interact with that data may have both immediate and long term advantages to police forces who are trying to manage their day to day workflows and communications.
As part of this assignment, we at RD2 were invited to fly to a Police Department in Oklahoma to ride with Officers during a night shift. There were five of us in total (between RD2 and Tyler Tech) and we split up with our list of questions. Our goal was to observe and learn how these Officers do their job and how they depend on technology at almost all times. We patrolled nearly all night on the streets and came away with a lot of information that became the basis for our User Experience Strategy.
While the assignment was obviously focused on gathering data for the purposes of building this application, it seemed we all came away with a new respect for the work that Police Officers do. How many of us dream as a child of being a Police Officer? If asked the question in a classroom, I’d certainly be raising my hand. It’s a role we admire and a role we put on a pedestal in most situations. We depend on these people for so many things and they do a very difficult and dangerous job. These Officers often put their lives on the line for people they may have never met.
To this moment I can recall the first traffic citation that my officer issued. It was dark and I recall sitting in the car (we’re not supposed to leave the car) while she pulled over a vehicle. She was behind the vehicle and her spotlight was appropriately pointed at the backside of the car. When she got out and approached the car I got this sick feeling in my stomach. I recall observing this vulnerability. Even with the spotlight and the headlights of the car it was apparent you still could not see everything. Granted, this was a routine stop, and it all turned out OK, but it was obvious to me that those steps the Officer took on approaching the vehicle were potentially very dangerous ones. I just can’t imagine the more complex calls and the chances these officers take every day on their shifts.
So, obviously, I never became a Police Officer. But it did give us a great honor to have worked with a company such as Tyler Technologies to create an application that was designed to help these public servants. These are human beings who are someones son or daughter. They are brothers and sisters. Many of them are mothers and fathers. They need our support and they need any tools that will give them additional safety. They need and deserve more applications like this that are forward thinking and that utilize the greatest things that technology has to offer to improve the nature of the jobs they do.
The following are actual screenshots of the iPad application that we worked with Tyler Technologies to create. As of recently, the city of Bartow, Florida is the first beta tester. Great work to the team and to the Tyler Tech Public Safety group in Lubbock to pull this all together. Stay on the lookout for more amazing innovation to come from this team!