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Board lets police service buy extra software for program acquired in 2019

The Board of Police Commissioners voted to let the Moose Jaw Police Service spend over $16,000 to purchase the new computer program.
Moose Jaw police 7
Moose Jaw Police Service. Photo by Jason G. Antonio

The Moose Jaw Police Service purchased a program in 2019 to make life easier for officers when submitting reports but, was somehow unaware that it needed another piece to ensure the program ran smoothly.

The organization bought software and hardware to implement a dictation-based system for data entry, which would let front-line officers verbally create their reports in the field instead of typing them, send the reports back to the station securely, and allow them to patrol the streets for longer periods, explained Supt. Taylor Mickleborough. 

Patrol officers were already equipped with a smartphone in their vehicles, so the dictation software — called Nuance — allowed the members to use their phones to submit their reports verbally using an app. An in-house system from a different manufacturer — called Windscribe — then queued up the oral reports so the data entry specialists could process them. 

However, he continued, the organization’s information service provider advised it that it now needed to purchase Microsoft Sequel server licensing — an operating system — to ensure the system worked well for each dictation user. 

“This additional purchase was unforeseen at the time we had purchased the dictation system and started to move towards that. Our IT infrastructure was in a bit of a precarious position,” Mickleborough said during the recent Board of Police Commissioners meeting. “We had to make some inquiries about what we needed on our end to house the software, and we weren’t able to get to that step.”

The server licensing costs $16,383.60, does not require any additional fees and includes lifetime use, he pointed out. The current version — which the IT provider considers the best available — has an estimated five-year lifespan. 

“When we did make the purchase of this equipment, the company that we bought the software from made a great presentation about how much quicker it is … ,” Mickleborough told the board. “There will be some growing pains because dictation is a skill in itself. But after those growing pains, we’re anticipating that you can enter reports as fast as you can talk.”

The police service sees “tremendous potential benefit” to the new operating system, he added, but does not know how much time it will save officers when creating their reports.

The police board then voted unanimously to let the police service purchase the server licensing program.

The next Board of Police Commissioners is Tuesday, Nov. 9.