UTPD to make technological changes, increase officer patrols

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With emerging technology, UT Police Department Chief David Carter hopes officers will spend more time in the field and less time in the office. 

UTPD’s current record management system, or RMS, has a cumbersome data–entry process. Carter said the system is outdated and needs to be replaced. 

“The current system that we have is basically at its end of life,” Carter said. “Support from vendors is very limited, and just like all technology, it evolves and has to be kept up.” 

Carter said UTPD currently has the funding for a new system and has sent a request for a proposal out for it. The new RMS must be less time-consuming and more efficient, Carter said, so officers can spend more time patrolling different areas on campus than they do filling out reports. 

“We want a system that will be more effective, efficient and (that) minimizes the time that an officer has to spend writing a report, filling out the different blocks and drop-down menus,” Carter said. 

Another program used by UTPD is its computer-aided dispatch system, also known as CAD, which is used to handle calls by dispatchers. Ann Treffer, UTPD emergency communications manager, said the CAD system currently only allows one dispatcher to take a call. 

“We could get 300 phone calls in an hour, and we have only one dispatcher who can be in there,” Treffer said. “So even though we have got plenty of people out there to answer the phone, its not an efficient way to do business.” 

By having a more efficient system, Carter said officers would have more time to spend out in the field.

“My goal is to have officers out there, able to actually prevent things,” Carter said. “We would rather not write a report because we were able to prevent a crime or incident from occurring to begin with.”

The police department is also looking to improve their ability to analyze crime trends efficiently, Carter said.

“We want something where we can pull out information quickly and analyze trends,” Carter said. “Those trends are important for us because obviously, we want to know where they are happening, why they are happening and … the root cause.”

Linguistics graduate student Christopher Brown said UT could use an increased police presence in certain areas of campus. 

“If there were any places that I would want them to be … it would be in places where I feel less safe so maybe on the Drag or darker, less lit parts of campus,”
Brown said.

The campus community is divided into eight districts, two of them being off–campus. Carter said his goals are to have an officer present in each district and to expand UTPD’s bike unit. 

“On the street, on any given day, my objective is that we have at least 10 or 12 officers out moving around, primarily on campus and somewhat off-campus,” Carter said. “There are a lot of officers who are doing investigation and other kinds of things, but we want to have that kind of visibility.”