Civilian Data Entry (Details)

Name of province/ territory:


City/ Region:


Description of Initiative:

  • Civilian data entry (CDE) employs civilian members, rather than police officers, to enter administrative data into electronic reports.
  • CDE is a proven method of efficiently freeing up frontline officer time at a ratio of between 2.5–3.1 (this information is based on the OPP research/reports: Efficiency Review report on CDE–2007 and Central Region CDE Pilot Project).
  • Officers dictate occurrence information into a central recording system.
  • Civilian transcribers enter occurrence information into the police occurrence reporting system and complete other relevant tasks using that data, including linking property, persons, addresses, creating court briefs, and generating uniform crime reports.

Initiative Key Objectives:

CDE is intended to improve public and officer safety by:

  • freeing up officer time to be redirected to calls for service, crime prevention and proactive enforcement;
  • improving data quality to support intelligence-led policing; and
  • reducing data-entry turnaround time, making data available sooner for other investigative / public safety purposes.

Section Responsible for Implementation:

Traffic Safety and Operational Support Command

Key Contact:

Kelly, Roger

Groups/ Agencies/ Key Partners Involved:

  • N/A

Level of Involvement (consultative - information sharing) and/or cooperative - direct involvement):

Please contact for further information.

Amount of Time Initiative has been in Place:

  • Detachment-based CDE has been in use ad hoc within the OPP for over 10 years.
  • A regional pilot was conducted in 2010/11 to evaluate organizational expansion issues and the use of standardized technology through a centralized location. Initial planning for the project began in late 2009.
  • CDE is currently in place in various detachments in four OPP regions, with planning underway for organizational expansion beginning in 2013/14.

Reason for Undertaking the Initiative:

Municipalities and police services boards are interested in options that maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of police officers and improve officer availability. Several municipalities policed by the OPP have requested the OPP implement CDE within their jurisdiction.

Existing detachment-based CDE systems were aging and in need of replacement.

The centralized CDE system consists of a standard technology solution centered at the OPP General Headquarters in Orillia. Transcription personnel can work from any location in the province using standard OPP work stations. OPP officers throughout the province use the same telephone number to access one of the current 23 phone lines routed through the central server.

Continued expansion of CDE in an ad hoc manner, with detachments operating independent/stand-alone systems with no set standard, was determined to be inefficient. Municipalities supporting the funding for stand-alone CDE systems in OPP jurisdictions were expressing concerns regarding their ability to continue maintaining costly stand-alone systems.

Stand-alone CDE systems are not integrated into or consistent with the secure OPP network. Variations in hardware and software capability of these systems result in varying standards for data entry and transcription business processes. Stand-alone systems are not supported corporately by the OPP, leaving detachments/municipalities responsible for day-to-day operations, maintenance and support, and upgrading. Because these stand-alone systems cannot be integrated into the OPP network, they operate on independent hardware, impacting on facility space in each detachment.

Standardized technology, integrated into the OPP network, improves efficiency (e.g., permits resource sharing), allows for standardization in policy, training, dictation and transcription, and ensures corporate technology support services.

Resources Required to Implement this Initiative:

Estimates provided are based on the Central Region pilot project only (supporting 13 detachments in three regions, approximately 1,000 system users):

  • technology, including hardware (server, telephone lines, headsets/footpedals) and software (server, concurrent user and manager licences, and service support): approximately $190,000;
  • data entry full-time equivalents (FTEs): $55,000/FTE;
  • startup training*: <$50,000;
  • ongoing costs (telephone lines / per-minute costs, annual service support): approximately $1,600/month for 23 phone lines (per-minute costs are $0.03/min with current vendor of record); and
  • project management/research/planning—broad respresentation of internal employees: absorbed within current budgets.

*Officers receive training locally on how to use the CDE dictation system and how to properly dictate occurrence information. This training is usually provided as part of a shift briefing. Further, CDE transcription staff receive training in accordance with an established course training standard that integrates Niche RMS training and use of the CDE software in accordance with established business rules. The course training standard is designed so that any certified trainer can deliver the training locally or in a centralized classroom setting. This training is 10 days in duration.

Method of Implementation:

Regional pilot.

Key Outcomes of the Initiative:

The final results of the pilot show that a centrally based CDE system is viable and efficient:

  • Frontline officer administrative and report writing times were reduced.
  • Frontline officers responded to more calls for service.
  • Turnaround time from dictation to transcription was reduced.
  • The backlog of dictations awaiting transcription was reduced.
  • Officer usage of CDE increased.
  • Dictation quality was improved.
  • Data quality within Niche improved.
  • Maintenance/support impacts on local detachment staff were reduced considerably.

In addition, a number of products/findings from the project positioned the organization for future expansion of CDE:
  • Standardized policies, procedures and training and supports were developed and implemented, while still permitting local flexibility where applicable.
  • There is system-wide continuity of operations solutions, including system wide backup capability.
  • Previously unavailable centralized analysis and oversight of CDE as a program is now possible.
  • CDE expansion to additional detachments can continue in a standardized manner with minimal workload requirements.

Availability of a Communication Strategy:


Key Messages used to Publicize the Initiative:

  • The OPP recognizes that municipalities and police services boards are interested in options that maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of police officers and improve officer availability.
  • Civilian data entry employs civilian members rather than police officers to enter administrative data into electronic reports.
  • Civilian data entry frees up police officers from administrative duties so that they can spend more time working operationally in the community, which helps us keep policing costs as low as possible.
  • Although civilian data entry improves the efficiency of police officers, there are no immediate and direct cost savings to a municipality.
  • The increased time available for officers to be in the community not only increases police visibility but also improves the ability to respond to calls for service, undertake crime prevention activities and engage in proactive enforcement—all of which can ultimately reduce crime and victimization.
  • The OPP is committed to civilian data entry as a strategy to achieve efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Expansion of the program is being undertaken as a controlled, strategic process, while the required supports and resources continue to evolve.

Forms of Evaluation by which the Initiative will be Assessed:

  • internal
  • quantitative
  • qualitative

Evaluation Completed or Community Feedback Received:


Summary of the Outcomes:

A comprehensive Final Report of the Central Region Pilot Project has been completed.

Since the conclusion of the pilot project, additional detachments have been added to the centralized CDE system. CDE is now available in four of the OPP’s five regions. In three cases, existing stand-alone systems were shut down and replaced with the more efficient centralized system.

Planning is now underway to support organizational expansion of CDE in 2013/14.

Summary of the Performance Measure Data Collected:


Economics of Policing Pillars:

Further Details:


Additional Comments or Suggestions:

Organizations must be cognizant of rapidly changing technology (e.g., mobile devices/applications, and speech-to-text conversion) and retain the ability to adapt quickly in order to leverage opportunites and continue to improve.

Record Entry Date:


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