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BPD looks to improve service, accountability with tracking program

Graduates sitting on stage (copy)

Bakersfield Police Department Academy graduates sit on stage at Bakersfield First Assembly church during a ceremony in December.

The Bakersfield Police Department hopes to improve service, accountability and how it polices the community with a $20,000 investment in a pilot software program aimed at tracking its response to calls for service and digitally sharing updates with people making calls.

The system is a product of SPIDR Tech, which promises “modern customer service for public safety” on its website, and can benefit the community in a number of ways, according to Lt. Ryan Kroeker, who’s overseeing its implementation.

The program begins working once someone places a call for service to the BPD.

“I think one of the first things (the public) is going to notice is whenever somebody calls, they’re going to get a text message that has their case number and the time that they called,” Kroeker said. If there’s a 30-minute delay, for example, it will communicate that to the caller via text, as well as keeping them updated on the status of their call.

“The second portion of it is that as the report gets completed and it goes through the investigative process, community members are going to receive emails and text messages every time the status of the case changes,” Kroeker said, as well as useful help such as the detective’s contact information, how to obtain a copy of the report and updates on the status of a case, if a call progresses to that point.

Kroeker said the system also allows the public to offer feedback on what officers might have done differently, as well as positive input when someone is satisfied with their service. Both types of comments can be helpful in improving the BPD’s response, which is the idea behind the program, he said.

The software is being paid for from the department’s budget, he said, adding it was something the department has sought for several years. The appeal with this pilot system, he said, is that it’s automated, meaning there is no need for wide-scale training or hiring additional personnel, and it provides the BPD with measurable data.

The pilot program is expected to run until April 30, at which time Kroeker said the department would evaluate the results.