Blue Line

Features Technology
Embracing E-Notes: A case study with York Regional Police

February 29, 2024  By Paulo Da Silva

Photo credit: York Regional Police

As we step into the future of law enforcement at York Regional Police (YRP), it’s time to bid farewell to the traditional pen and paper. The storage room filled with countless police notebooks, tucked away in darkness, has made way for a digital transformation that is revolutionizing the way we take notes and interact with our community.

Police officers have been scribbling their observations into notebooks since the days of Sir Robert Peel. While traditional methods have served us well, embracing technology was a natural step to enhance officer experiences and the quality of their notes.

With our heads in the cloud, quite literally, we introduced the E-Notes application as part of our Connected Officer program. This initiative modernizes our daily activities, strengthens community engagement and enhances the effectiveness of our officers. We equipped our officers with Samsung Galaxy S21FE devices and they now have access to a suite of patrol-related applications, ensuring quick decision-making, seamless information sharing and the ability to capture vital details electronically.

The transition to E-Notes not only brings efficiency and time savings for our officers but also allows us to stay connected with our community while out in the field. We firmly believe that our service must be community-oriented, and this digital transformation aligns perfectly with that mission.

Implementing new technology involves critical steps to ensure its success, including planning and strategy to clearly identify needs and goals. With E-Notes, assessing how digital notetaking enhances officer productivity, mobility and accessibility, while providing cost savings through reduced administrative time, was a significant driving force in this transformation.

Our journey began in 2019 as we developed a roadmap for the Connected Officer program, with E-Notes as the key component. We partnered with Digital Mobility Inc., a Toronto-based company, and adopted its software called Intelligent Mobile Patrol (IMP) as our E-Notes solution. Using an agile approach, we worked closely with officers from various ranks and roles to ensure we had a solution that best served our members.

We kicked off this transformation with a pilot project in 2022, involving 25 officers, and now it’s a reality for all frontline officers. We engaged involved stakeholders, including the judicial system and the community. Collaborating with all internal and external stakeholders, we assembled a cross-functional team involving members of Information Technology, frontline officers, supervisors and an executive lead to ensure the diverse insights vital to the program’s successful implementation.

“I don’t have to scan my notes or transpose information. I don’t have to worry about the cold weather, the software just works,” remarked one veteran officer.

Customization and integration entailed configuring E-Notes to align with existing workflows and systems, including RMS/CAD and Business Intelligence. Rigorous testing was essential, from initial input to the actual document produced for court. Additionally, the process by which officers access and validate notes was important for members to learn to testify in court. User-acceptance testing, confirming E-Notes’ accessibility and reliability in a 24/7 operation was also necessary. Comprehensive training and documentation ensured users understood the features and functionality and this was supported by user guides and training sessions.

To support the changes, YRP designated E-Notes champions to communicate benefits and improve adoption by our members, before deploying the technology in phases. Starting with a pilot group to minimize disruptions, followed by larger groups, on a location/unit-based approach, leveraged the optimal use of resources. As we rolled out, we continuously monitored and evaluated E-Notes’ performance and gathered user feedback to address issues requiring enhancements.

Lastly, post-implementation support is needed to address user queries and technical issues and ensure E-Notes’ sustained functionality. This structured approach led to a successful E-Notes implementation, maximizing its benefits and promoting its adoption across the entire organization.

The overwhelming feedback from members was: “What took so long?” Regardless of age or assignment, E-Notes was quickly embraced, confirming that the solution had met the needs of our members and organization.

“I don’t have to scan my notes or transpose information. I don’t have to worry about the cold weather, the software just works,” remarked one veteran officer.

Gone are the days of physical storage and the fear of losing crucial data to floods or fires. E-Notes offers a safe and secure on-premise or cloud-based solution, allowing easy access and efficient searching of notes with just a few keystrokes. The shift to E-Notes not only frees up administrative time for our officers but also keeps them where they belong – out in the community, serving and protecting.

End note: For any inquiries or questions about our e-notes digital transformation, please contact: Deputy Chief Paulo Da Silva, York Regional Police,

York Regional Police Deputy Chief Paulo Da Silva is a 30-year veteran with extensive experience in both operations and administration. He has a proven track record in leveraging innovation and technology to improve the delivery of effective and efficient policing services to the community.

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