Using G Suite, Clarkstown Police Department has transformed the way its officers share information and digital evidence. It’s now exploring opportunities to move other services to the cloud to save more time and money.
Located on the west bank of the Hudson River in the state of New York, Clarkstown has a population of 85,000. It is the business center of Rockland County, and its 46 square miles include major routes from upstate New York to New York City.
Clarkstown has gained a reputation as one of the safest and best small cities to live in the United States. For that, some credit must go to Clarkstown Police Department (PD), with its staff of 156 officers and 70 civilian employees.
Like many municipal police departments, Clarkstown PD is supported by a small IT team. The head is Sergeant Brian Gorsky, who after 17 years as a patrol officer, transferred to the IT division in 2011. At around the same time, Clarkstown PD shared much of its IT with the town hall—which had decided to move to G Suite. For Brian, it was an important step forward.
Back then, most patrol officers didn’t have their own email account, and the department didn’t have its own email server. Instead, email was accessible via five shared computers used for officers to write up reports.
The department couldn’t give each member of staff his or her own email address because, according to Brian, “there was no good way to synchronize individual accounts.”
Cloud-based email was an obvious alternative, so the Clarkstown PD Gmail, the highly secure G Suite email solution. It was the start of a major cultural change across the whole department.
“Almost everything we do now is electronic, and most of our internal communications are through email,” says Brian. “Everybody now uses Gmail in our organization. We no longer have to print copies of every memo for every employee, and we can share digital evidence faster and more securely than ever.”
“By moving everything onto Google, we're saving $20K to $30K a year in IT licensing.”
Sergeant Brian Gorsky, Information Technology Division, Clarkstown Police Department
By way of example, Brian cites an instance where a citizen might receive a threatening voicemail from someone in the community. The person receiving the voicemail can email it as an MP3 file to the responding officer. The officer then forwards the message to the Digital Evidence Group—via a collaborative inbox set up in Google Groups. “The Digital Evidence Group inbox is monitored by five or six detectives,” Brian says. “Once they get a report, picture, video, or sound file, one of them can take ownership of it and process it as needed.
Brian has found Gmail an ideal solution for Clarkstown PD’s needs. “It’s been easy to use—important for a workforce with varying degrees of IT knowledge—and the security has been excellent,” he says. “The spam filters are phenomenal. Very little gets through, and in the latest version even more phishing protection has been added.” That security, and the confidence Brian has in it, is clearly crucial for the sharing of digital evidence—particularly where that may include sensitive personal information.
Best of all, it has proved extremely cost effective. “By moving everything onto Google, we're saving $20K to $30K a year in IT licensing,” Brian says. The savings are being invested in additional work with Google Cloud Premier Partner, Tempus Nova to streamline workflows, free up police officer time, and drive further savings.
To learn more about how G Suite enabled Clarkstown PD to share information and digital evidence, and to save time and money with the cloud, download the paper "Clarkstown Police Department: Catalyst for a culture shift."