Saved time and lower costs

The facts

The customer
Waite Park Police Department, Minnesota, USA
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Philips partner
Chader Voice Technology
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The solution
PocketMemo Voice Recorder
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SpeechMike Premium Dictation Microphone
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Suburban police department streamlines dictation workflow with Philips SpeechLive


The Waite Park Police Department in Waite Park, Minn., serves a population of 8,000 residents and an additional 100,000 people daily who visit from surrounding communities due to the high concentration of retail shopping in the area.

Each of the department’s 15 police officers creates an average of 10 incident reports per shift, including two or three lengthy reports with multiple interviews of affected parties such as victims, suspects and witnesses. To create these reports, officers use Philips Pocket Memo digital handheld recorders to dictate and then upload the recordings back at the station to be transcribed by office staff members. 

Though the officers could easily dictate the reports from anywhere using Philips Pocket Memo digital handheld recorders, getting the reports transcribed took more time. These reports had to be created in the office, which posed a unique work-life balance challenge for officers and transcriptionists, especially when a report needed to be finalized on nights or weekends to meet court deadlines.

With courts depending on prompt completion of reports, Waite Park officers and administrators wanted to eliminate the delay between dictation and transcription, but outsourcing transcription was cost prohibitive. Asking transcriptionists to return to the station during non-office hours also contributed to increased costs and posed safety concerns. Instead, the Waite Park Police Department expanded its voice technology toolkit by introducing Philips SpeechLive, a cloud-based dictation workflow solution that allowed transcriptionists to work off-site, reducing the department’s transcription time and saving several hours for transcriptionists.

Instead of waiting until the end of their shift, our staff can now access those recordings as soon as they’re uploaded. We had nothing but positive feedback from the other officers when we made that switch.

Tim Deschene
Officer and investigator

Voice technology evolution

Waite Park Police Department’s transition to Philips digital voice equipment began in 2011 when its speech technology partner, Chader Business Equipment, and the department’s office manager agreed to eliminate its former handheld recorders for the more versatile Pocket Memos, ultimately this transition would ease the implementation of SpeechLive.

Within a few months, the police department also chose to implement Philips SpeechMike dictation microphones and Dragon NaturallySpeaking speech recognition software that automatically transcribed the officers’ words as they spoke. For an accurate transcription, the Dragon software must learn the speaker’s voice, which required several training sessions as the technology adapted to the unique speech variations of each user. With a little patience from the officers, the software began to transcribe their speech at 95 to 98 percent accuracy.

“We had nothing but positive feedback from the other officers when we made that switch,” says Tim Deschene, an officer and investigator with the Waite Park Police Department, who led the implementation of voice recognition. “Philips’ technology has been a great timesaver for our department.”

Workflow preferences require flexibility

While many Waite Park officers were satisfied with SpeechMikes and speech recognition software, others still preferred the Pocket Memos and uploading their dictations for the department’s transcriptionists to manually transcribe. However, it didn’t solve the challenge of creating reports after hours. Administrative Assistant Lisa Laudenbach often had to return to the office for transcription and report development after hours to meet the court deadlines.  

“During our winters, driving back to the station may take a long time,” says Laudenbach, adding that she has stayed at the police department as late as 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. to complete a report.

Philips voice solutions allow us to transfer recordings to the cloud so our staff can access them anywhere at any time. That, combined with the SpeechMike or Pocket Memo … makes Philips’ technology a great timesaver for our department.

Tim Deschene
Officer and investigator

Those extra hours on the road and in the office for Laudenbach and the department’s other transcriptionist increased the department’s overtime costs and occasionally required the employees to travel at night with snow-covered roads. It also meant time away from families and other activities.

To avoid these situations, in 2013, Chader recommended Waite Park begin testing a new cloud-based solution, Philips SpeechLive, which allows officers to upload their recordings anytime, anywhere directly to the cloud. Once uploaded, transcriptionists can securely access the recordings using any web browser and transcribe on their home computer.

“I don’t live near the police station, so having SpeechLive means I can easily and securely access dictations after hours from home, which is a huge time saver,” Laudenbach says. “Not only does it save time, but we can create reports faster now because I can transcribe at home and send it back to the station as soon as they need it.”

Security and efficiency of the cloud

Other than convenience, SpeechLive offers numerous security and efficiency benefits for Waite Park, and these benefits translate to other industries and business types. Recordings are encrypted in real time, a crucial feature to protect the sensitive information in police reports, as well as interviews and statements, all of which are recorded and transcribed. The highest encryption standard available is used to protect data, even during upload and download. Files can be encrypted for a third time if recorded in the DSS Pro (.ds2) format for maximum security.

Although Waite Park stores its recordings long term on its local server, SpeechLive offers highly secure online storage with maximum connection security using the HTTPS protocol. All stored data is automatically encrypted and server mirroring keeps data reliably protected and available anytime. 

“We have to retain all our dictations and recordings indefinitely,” Laudenbach says. “Although SpeechLive offers secure file-storage capabilities, it’s easy for us to transfer dictations to our long-term file storage server, or move it back to the cloud if we need to.”

If a recording is accidently deleted from a device, SpeechLive offers an automatic backup function. Dictation files are always safe, even if a computer crashes or if an officer or transcriptionist suddenly loses their Internet connection. 

The solution

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