When you are shopping for police software, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with choices. There are many vendors out there offering software for police training, employee records management, equipment tracking and even for your K9 unit! When looking for the right software product, don’t forget to also look for a good vendor, because the two are strongly connected. When it comes to buying police software, it’s more than a transaction, because you will likely need ongoing support from your vendor. We’ve put together a few questions you should ask your future vendor to determine whether they are the right fit for your agency.
Do you offer training?
Whether you are switching from a paper-based system or from different software, there will be a period of adjustment. And because police software is usually rather comprehensive, there may be a steep learning curve ahead. During this transition, it’s nice to have support of your police software vendor in case you have any questions. Be sure to ask whether your vendor offers software documentation, maintains a Help article database or is available to call or email with questions.
At MdE, we take it a step further and host user group training to help both new and existing users improve their knowledge of our software and figure out new ways to be more productive. We find that our clients learn not only from our experienced training instructors, but also from their peers who may have had similar challenges in the past.
How good is your support?
Unfortunately, it’s usually hard to say how good tech support is going to be until you experience it. However, just by looking through your vendor’s website you can tell a few things. Do they have pages, phone numbers or emails dedicated to support? If not, this is a red flag. Website is probably the first place you would look for contact information if you have an issue with your police software. And if you can’t find a number to call, your vendor obviously doesn’t make it easy to get help.
Do you improve your police software?
In this fast-changing world, a software product, no matter how good, can’t remain stagnant. Technology is evolving fast, and there are always new opportunities to improve user friendliness, fix bugs, broaden compatibility or add useful integrations with other systems. Ask your vendor how often they typically update their software. Sometimes, you can tell this by the software version available on the site or press releases announcing new features.
At MdE, we prefer to update our police software based on user feedback. That’s why we love hosting user group training, because we get to better understand your software needs, and we typically receive many feature requests too.
Can you do custom programming?
Not all police software is one size fits all. Every police department is different and may even use different training models, whether it’s FTO, PTO or a custom in-house program. If you need things done a certain way, it’s a good idea to double-check with your vendor whether they can customize the software to your needs. It would be disappointing to sign up only to discover that this system doesn’t do what you want. At MdE we find that online demonstrations help our clients get a feel for our police software. Once you understand the basic features, we can talk about any custom programming you may need.
Feel free to give us a call or fill out a form online to request a demo. Or get in touch with us if you are interested in attending our next user group training.