7 Reasons You Need Citizen Engagement Software

Learn how citizen engagement tools can help your public safety agency streamline citizen communication, boost morale, attract candidates — and more.

April 26, 2023

Article Highlights: 

Effective communication builds trust and fosters positive relationships between your law enforcement department and the community. To meet the needs and expectations of citizens today, police departments must be proactive in their communication.  

But departments nationwide are understaffed, making it seem like a challenge to implement the types of streamlined communication that improve resident engagement. To complicate matters further, you don’t have a way to measure citizen satisfaction, so you can’t identify where improvements will have the most significant impact. 

What if we told you one tool could help you address these challenges?

Citizen engagement software automates information sharing and gives you critical insights into citizen satisfaction. This means less time spent navigating cumbersome communication channels and more time providing stellar public safety services.  

In this article, we’ll investigate the seven key ways citizen engagement software can benefit your public safety agency.

1. Collect Citizen Feedback

Your law enforcement department relies on data to understand what it’s doing well and what it can improve upon. But collecting feedback requires time and labor that you can’t spare. 

The best resident engagement software will automate the feedback process so you can efficiently collect information on citizen satisfaction. For example, you might use software to send automated surveys through text, enabling individuals who have recently interacted with your department to rate your public safety response.

And don’t worry about collecting unneeded data. The right citizen engagement software will allow you to set specific parameters using CAD and RMS data to limit survey requests to particular interactions. As a result, you won’t accidentally solicit feedback from individuals who have just been arrested or experienced a tragedy. Instead, you’ll gain input that will be as valuable to your agency’s resident engagement goals as possible. 

2. Boost Staff Morale

Public safety work is a high-stakes, often thankless, job. Law enforcement officers help citizens in need, but they don’t always receive feedback between the numerous calls they might respond to in a day. 

Fortunately, citizen software makes collecting and sharing positive feedback easier, so officers regularly receive recognition for a job well done. A robust software system will allow you to send automated, personalized emails to officers that contain specific words of thanks from the citizens they recently served. 

The best resident engagement software also makes it easy to showcase these citizen responses on monitors across your station. This public recognition is a powerful reminder that your community values police work, helping boost morale and fostering a healthy work environment at your agency.

3. Provide Positive Reinforcement

Your law enforcement agency can also use citizen engagement software to reinforce quality policing. How so?

Suppose an officer gets feedback that a citizen appreciated their calm demeanor and detailed questions when filing a report. Having heard the positive impact they made firsthand, the officer will be more likely to demonstrate those same behaviors in the future. In this way, words of affirmation promote continued high performance. 

On the flip side, less positive feedback can help you identify occasional skill gaps or areas where you may want to host refresher training. As a result, your organization can pursue a focused approach to continuous improvement that meets the needs of employees and citizens alike. 

4. Communicate with Citizens

In an emergency, no one wants to wonder when help will arrive. The best resident engagement software sends text status updates so callers know if police response is going to be delayed. These text updates can be entirely automated, ensuring you don’t add to the workload of already-busy staff. 

In addition to providing timeline updates, you can prepare citizens for first responders with pre-arrival instructions sent through text. Many software tools enable you to customize texts for specific calls (including lower-priority and non-emergency situations), ensuring citizens always receive the most relevant details. 

Finally, you can keep everyone informed even after officers have left the scene. Use citizen engagement software to automate notifications and case updates so callers stay up to date — without the need for any manual phone calls. 

5. Increase Transparency

The right citizen engagement software also allows you to quantify citizen satisfaction and track trends over time. Publicly sharing these scores on social media sites or in public newsletters increases your department’s transparency and showcases your interest in providing a high level of service. 

Plus, when individuals see local satisfaction data and trends (rather than relying on national news), they can better understand policing in their immediate community. In this way, software can also help improve local narratives about your law enforcement department. 

6. Attract Candidates

All the benefits of resident engagement software discussed above also promote a strong employee work culture. By increasing transparency, providing positive reinforcement, and boosting morale, you promote a healthy work environment that encourages long-term employee retention. In addition to making your department a better place to work for your current officers, a great culture also makes it easier to attract recruits to your organization. 

7. Reduce Manual Callbacks with Automation

Finally, the best citizen engagement tools save your staff valuable time by reducing the need for manual callbacks. Instead of picking up the phone when you make progress on a case, citizen engagement software can send automated, non-emergency updates on your behalf. 

Many software systems will even pull information directly from your CAD and RMS. This means you can use citizen engagement software to send case updates, victim notifications, and recovered property messages through text whenever you update data. 

These real-time updates mean your agency spends less time on administrative follow-up, and citizens get critical information as soon as it’s available. 

Final Thoughts

The right citizen engagement tool makes it easy to automate communication, share words of appreciation, and gain critical insights into citizen satisfaction. As a result, your agency experiences better retention and recruitment, allowing you to provide the highest level of public safety services possible.

Excited to reap the benefits of citizen engagement software? PowerEngage by PowerDMS offers all the functionalities discussed above, ensuring your police department has everything it needs to maintain streamlined communication with citizens. Don’t hesitate to schedule a demo today to learn more.

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