All organizations have to keep track of their assets, a task that grows increasingly complex as large operations add more and more items to their inventories. Law enforcement agencies have the added responsibility of tracking potentially dangerous items, such as weapons and ammunition, or other sensitive equipment, such as body armor or communications equipment.
Asset management is an exacting discipline even in its simplest applications; asset managers must continually and accurately verify, log, track and manage their organizations’ property. When someone needs to locate a specific vehicle in a parking structure or find out how many mobile phones are currently stored in a given warehouse, the asset management team should have the answer.
Managing assets in law enforcement
In law enforcement, asset management is subject not only to organizational needs, but also to controls and regulations to which departments must adhere. Operational security remains critical to ensure personnel safety and mission integrity, and law enforcement agencies must maintain the integrity and confidentiality of their assigned assets.
As a practical matter, this means that asset managers and operational personnel need a solution that considers the sensitive nature of the asset and the department’s accountability requirements. Asset managers need a full understanding of the risks associated with unnecessary disclosure of information related to the assets. Given the limited financial resources of law enforcement agencies, cost is a significant consideration and police planners need to factor budget constraints in evaluating asset tracking solutions.
Asset tracking involves both technology and management. On the technology side, radio frequency identification (RFID) or global positioning system (GPS) technologies can provide visibility into the location of assets and keep track of their movements via a computer, tablet or mobile device. On the management side, information technology enables users to manage the full life-cycle, quantities, asset assignments, and location of assets. Therefore, it is no surprise that investing in asset management can appear a daunting expense, especially early on when a department needs to acquire the enabling hardware. Police planners can ensure the costs are minimal and effective by following these three best practices:
Start with an accurate inventory: You need a thorough understanding of your agency’s assets and their locations, in order to budget thoughtfully for asset management. You need granular details to make decisions about effective resource allocation.
Anticipate needs pragmatically: View the budget as a planning tool for fiscal year projections of resource and asset needs. A financial expression of public safety values consistent with the agency mission statement can be valuable in validating the agency’s fiscal responsibility to those officials allocating funding. Consider these projections to be a living document that you can adjust in order to react and respond to events flexibly as conditions change, without altering core values.
Allocate and disburse resources accurately: This practice is fiscally responsible, ethically necessary and critical to police operations. It demonstrates the agency follows best practices, complies with accreditation, and effectively manages the operational status and availability of agency resources in normal and emergency operations.
Making the right call
To successfully manage limited resources, law enforcement organizations require a streamlined and secure solution that:
• Complies with internal and external regulations and provides transparency
• Integrates with existing financial, enterprise and federal systems
• Standardizes processes, such as budget projection, maintenance of training records, sourcing from suppliers and asset tracking
• Provides data, notes and analytics for reporting and decision-making
• Offers a user-friendly, intuitive interface
CGI’s Sunflower Asset Management Solution supports existing police records management systems in order to assure accurate accountability and availability of resources. Coupled with CGI’s long history of government regulatory compliance, Sunflower’s compliance with GSA’s complex property regulations has effectively expanded from our federal law enforcement clients to the police accreditation standards of state and local agencies.
Today’s law enforcement agencies deal with ever-changing landscapes requiring the deployment of a wide range of new and old resources. As a result, funding and budgets affect police departments more profoundly than usual.
Police departments that employ effective property accountability will be positioned to demonstrate the responsible expenditure of their funding, most of which still comes from taxpayers.
For example, police departments can justify the allocation of funding for the replacement or purchase of new equipment by providing asset life-cycle information from the asset management system. That includes proof points on the age, derogation and need of equipment critical to the safety of police officers and the public, which can justify funding requests for upgrades and replacements.
Effective procurement, maintenance, service life and fiscal responsibility are not optional. They are mandatory for 21st century policing.
Learn more about how CGI can support your asset management needs. Asset Management
Learn more about our work in law enforcement here. Law Enforcement