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Tribal Police to Gain Free Access to RMS in CivicEye Program

The company, with the backing of one of the only Native American-owned venture capital firms in the U.S., is taking applications to get technology into the hands of tribal law enforcement to make better use of data.

Across the U.S., tribal police agencies tend to be understaffed and under-resourced — and much crime that happens on Indian land, such as missing women, goes undocumented.

In response, one tech company is starting a program where it will give free access to software to help those agencies better manage records and more easily report crime, with help from one of the only Native American-owned venture capital firms in the U.S.

CivicEye’s Law Enforcement Empowerment Program (LEEP), taking applications until May 16, is meant broadly to help get software into the hands of police departments lacking in resources. For its first year it will specifically focus on tribal agencies. The company is planning on giving free access to its records management system (RMS) to agencies for two years, as well as on-site training and help transitioning both onto and off the system as needed.

Nathan Leatherwood, the company’s head of growth and client success, expects that many of the applicants will be working with either very old RMS software or with pen and paper.

“If they have an RMS, most of them are using severely outdated records management solutions that were bought 10-15 years ago (and) haven't been updated much, and they spend as much time administratively doing things as they do out in the community, you know, serving the people that they're aiming to keep safe,” he said.

Access to a modern RMS could both streamline administrative operations in those departments as well as put more information into the hands of officers in the field.

“It is the brain of the operating system for public safety,” said Cameron Newton, a founding partner of Relevance Ventures, which has invested in CivicEye. “So your CAD call will come in, it will export that into the RMS, the RMS will ingest that data and then also export it out to court, to jail and on through the process. So it is … one of the most important components of the software suite that serves public safety.”

An RMS can be the difference between an officer knowing whether the person they’re interacting with has a criminal record. It can also be the mechanism by which different police agencies share information about suspects and how they report data such as arrests and use of force up to the state or federal government.

“If I can give an officer real-time data at their fingertips when they need it, they can make the best decision,” Leatherwood said. “When they make the best decision then we get the best outcomes, and when consistent outcome after consistent outcome keeps happening inside of these (communities), I think it builds community trust.”

Newton, who is a member of the Patawomeck Indian Tribe of Fredericksburg, Va., said the technology one finds inside tribal police departments is much like what one finds in non-tribal departments — it all depends. A tribe with more wealth might have more modern technology.

Even so, he said, non-tribal departments have more avenues of funding available to them.

“Whenever you see grants come down for public safety software, it’s typically for non-tribal affiliations,” Newton said. “One of the outcomes of this program, we hope at least on our side of the table, is that we're going to be able to go back to the government and try to come up with a grant program. Because hopefully, through this LEEP program, we can show the ROI, if you will, of these communities having the software and the data that's collected and how active, more effective policing and public safety becomes whenever you have modern software and technology that allows you to share data.”

CivicEye has been selling technology to the public safety market for more than 15 years, though it was known before January as Agisent Technologies. Aside from RMS, it also provides software for case management, judicial document management and data fusion.

The LEEP program application is available at
Ben Miller is the associate editor of data and business for Government Technology. His reporting experience includes breaking news, business, community features and technical subjects. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada, Reno, and lives in Sacramento, Calif.