Misplaced or lost weapons, unaccounted for units, and other equipment are an unfortunate reality for today’s law enforcement agencies. Manual and honor based check-in check-out systems increase liability and reduce accountability for law enforcement agencies.
In most departments, sergeants are responsible for tight control of equipment storage rooms. Sergeants have many duties, so keys to the equipment room are often delegated to a cadet, to another officer, or the room is left unlocked. Officers are typically disciplined individuals; however, manual check-in check-out systems often fall victims to neglect. When keys to units, weapons, and other police equipment are not adequately controlled, these things disappear or fall into neglect. Lost or neglected equipment often leads the media to subject departments to incredible embarrassment. The department loses the public’s trust and in some cases the incident can result in leaders of the department losing their jobs.
Many departments manually control their equipment rooms. Equipment disappears when manual systems are in place because accountability is difficult, if not impossible to enforce. If there isn’t accountability when using the department’s equipment, it may be returned in poor condition or not come back at all. For example, some agencies have experienced officers starting their patrol shift and finding that the rifle or other equipment in their unit has gone missing as result of being moved to another unit or misplaced. With the lack of accountability, no one is responsible for keeping track of where those guns are. In the Bay Area alone, 944 law enforcement guns were reported to have been lost or stolen since 2010 (Bay Area News Group). Misplaced guns could land in the wrong hands and lead to deadly consequences.
Police departments in the United States are facing an unsettling problem of an increasing number of multi-million dollar lawsuits from the public. Consequently, law enforcement agencies are turning to safe guard systems, such as body cams and less-lethal weapons (such as tasers) to limit their liability. This type of equipment is expensive and many smaller departments and cities cannot afford to issue every officer a complete set of equipment that will remain in the officer’s possession when they are off duty. Officers on patrol without body cams or non-lethal equipment have fewer options when it comes to non-lethal force and thus face a greater risk of liability.
The CopStop is a smart locker system that provides access control, tracking, and accountability. This system even offers charging ports for electronic equipment while in storage. Managers and supervisors can quickly audit equipment inventories. Officers can issue and return equipment on their own without having a supervisor present. Access to equipment can be dependent on an officer or employees’ specific job duties. Since officers check out equipment in their own name, they are being held accountable to either return it or properly dispatch it when its useful life is over. When a piece of equipment is returned, a condition report is generated so you can keep critical information of the equipment up-to-date, quickly repair or replace the device, and ensure that officers are not in the field with inoperable or substandard devices. The CopStop is a budget-safe system that will not only increase accountability, but will also allow you to buy fewer pieces of equipment. Instead of buying a piece of equipment for every officer at the station, you are able to purchase enough equipment to cover one or two shifts. The ability to equip your officers with more non-lethal equipment and body cams will surely reduce liability. The CopStop will guarantee accountability, decrease liability, and expand your budget dollars.
For more information about the CopStop, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call our toll free number at (800) 671-6501.