Belleville Police Service: Cutting-edge tech for departmental accountability
Published on August 22, 2022
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Serving their southeastern Ontario city of just under 100 square miles, the Belleville (Ontario) Police Service’s team partners with the community to protect the public. The Belleville Police Service has established itself as an international leader in the adoption of policing technology, including telematics.The department has installed Geotab solutions in its 31 vehicles to keep its fleet safe and preserve the public’s trust.
The Challenge: Gaining public trust
Modern policing has become more reliant on leveraging data and its benefits are not just confined to the officer’s day-to-day duties. The advent of telematics and real-time tracking has shown how being able to monitor officers is critical for preserving their own safety and their citizens, enhancing dispatch capabilities to send response teams to an incident in minutes. It’s ultimately why the Belleville Police Service knew they needed to take a data-driven approach to maximize departmental efficiency and accountability.
“The reason that we were looking for telematics in our vehicles was we believed that we were missing so many key elements about either the officers’ driving, the officers’ equipment and malfunctions in that vehicle,” says Mike Callaghan, the chief of the Belleville Police Service. “Information such as speed, braking, having a look at how the vehicle was operating, were the emergency lights on, was the siren on? Those are all very, very strong considerations when we're looking at liability in a collision. So, we felt that having that information was going to be very, very critical to us being able to defend the actions of the officers.”
Loading the department’s 31 vehicles, which include sedans, SUVs and pickups, with telematics technology would deliver this data, but also something equally as important for a modern police force.
“Let's be very frank, in the world of policing right now, we've seen a significant change in the perception and the accountability components within our policing,” says Callaghan. “There's an old saying that ‘Not only must you appear to be transparent, but you must be transparent.’ And that's where we believe that we're headed with the telematics data. The tech journey is one, I think, that every police service should be looking at and moving down towards, because at the end of the day, we have to be accountable.”
The Solution: Providing transparency
The Belleville Police Service installed the Geotab GO9 on all of its vehicles. In addition to GPS, speeding, and seat belt use monitoring, the fleet uses Geotab’s IOX capabilities to monitor the officers’ light and siren use, and whether they’ve removed their C8 rifle from the vehicle.
Telematics has provided the transparency and accountability that was the goal of implementing the Geotab solution. A recent incident clearly demonstrates the extent of this transparency. A resident called to complain about how a police car had roared past their home at an excessive speed without its lights or siren activated.
“I looked at the report for the vehicle and it showed me that the lights and sirens were going,” says Rene Aubertin, inspector of operations for the Belleville Police Service. “I told the person, ‘Well, actually, we have technology in the vehicle that tells us when the lights and sirens are activated and they were in this scenario.’ It puts those complaints to bed very quickly.”
Knowing exactly where officers are in their vehicles has been another major benefit for the police service.
“They know car X is right next to the call or within a couple kilometers of the call, so it’s an easier dispatch,” says Aubertin. “The dispatchers love it. They are very excited to have the technology. They say that it makes their jobs easier; it makes their jobs more efficient. And in turn it makes it more efficient for the officers.”
The Results: Beyond accountability
While telematics has allowed the Belleville Police Service to be more transparent and better able to respond quickly to calls, there have been a number of other benefits that have saved the city’s taxpayer’s money.
Telematics have reduced the amount of paperwork the officers have had to file related to their vehicles, including mileage reports and staff time to chase them down. This data is accurately reported automatically.
A game changer for the fleet has been in the health of its vehicles. Maintenance has never been better because of Geotab. “I think before we had Geotab here, it was always a challenge to stay on top of the oil changes and the maintenance of the vehicles,” says Dave Dunlop, maintenance and fleet coordinator for the Belleville Police Service. “All I can say is it's been amazing to have Geotab just to keep on top of the oil changes. We haven't missed any, keeping the fleet in the best shape it's ever been.”
Most importantly, the officers are safer thanks to telematics. “We’ve seen a reduction in our collisions because of the speed reports and the seatbelt reports that we receive on a weekly basis,” says Sheri Meeks, inspector in the Belleville Police Service’s Support Division. “It makes my job and the job of the other inspectors very easy, because it’s not just about accountability. We need to ensure that our officers are responding to calls safely.”
As for the future, the Belleville Police Service is looking at several sustainability efforts that will certainly rely on their Geotab solution, including monitoring idling and evaluating the use of electric vehicles.
From the Customer
“The Geotab information is absolutely key and critical for us to ensure that we're being transparent and accountable to the community.” –Mike Callaghan, chief of the Belleville Police Service.
Consider telematics your secret weapon for transparency. Discover more public safety fleet benefits.
Belleville Police Service
Types of vehicles:
SUVs, pickups, sedans
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