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Palm Springs Police Department launches new text response system that sends you updates on police reports

The Palm Springs Police Department is using new technology to improve communication between its department and the public. It's being called 'Power Engage', and its designed to bring more transparency to police reports, as well as give people a way to send their feedback directly to the PSPD.

News Channel Three's Tori King spoke with Lieutenant William Hutchinson about the new program.

"Think Amazon, right? We you call and you order a package and you start getting text messages about your order, and then the delivery and then when it arrives, you get another message" said Hutchinson. "This is the same thing, but for the police department.”

The program first launched two weeks ago, and after working out a few bugs and kinks, Hutchinson says the text system is working out wonderfully.

Here's how it works:

When you call 9-1-1 with a non-life threatening situation, you will speak with a dispatcher and report your problem. Once the call is over, the new system will begin sending you text updates on your police report, sending you messages as your case progresses. Other updates may include messages on whether the officer heading your direction is delayed, when your case gets assigned to a detective, and if an arrest in your case has been made.

Once the case is closed, the PSPD will send you one final message, asking for your feedback on the entire process.

"Once we've closed out your call, you get a final text," said Hutchinson. "And then you get a survey that says 'How did we do? How did the 9-1-1 call taker do? How did they perform? What did you think? How did the officers perform?' And we really need that feedback because it helps us really change maybe our behaviors, or how we interact with the public. Or maybe even look at how we need to do things a little bit differently.” 

When filling out the survey its important to answer every question, because the department uses the responses to help in future trainings. Additionally, the system also keeps track of police department employees and shows how many negative or positive responses each one has received., a tool that Hutchinson says is critical in understanding how to approach officers on their behavior.

"Certainly there are some people that have posted some negative comments, but nothing outrageous," said Hutchinson. "It was more concerned with a call, or maybe they didn't hear from an officer directly, or they left the scene and the officer didn't arrive at the time that they were there. Just really minor issues. But that's what we want to hear you know? Was our employee or officer rude. We'll address it if you felt that was the case. But we won't know unless you submit the feedback. Mostly, what we're seeing is really great responses, positive responses and an appreciation for the work that our men and women are doing.”

The program runs about $13,000 a year, and if funded by the city budget.

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Tori King

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