Vallejo Police Outsource Report Writing

Police department in cash-strapped Bay Area city has third-party firm taking down notes

The police department in cash-strapped Vallejo, Calif., may have found a way to save a little money.

The Police Department is now using a transcription service based in Tennessee -- Nashville-McLintock Transcription and Consulting Services -- to write up its police reports.

The reports are dictated into a digital audio file then sent via a secure connection to Nashville-McClintock, where retired law-enforcement officials write them up.

The practice is less expensive than hiring new personnel and could possibly elicit more details from officers who might otherwise keep it brief if they had to do the typing themselves.

The drawbacks, however, include both security and privacy issues.

The University of California at San Francisco learned that the hard way when a transcriptionist in Pakistan threatened to release confidential patient records in order to force an employer to make good on wages.

Besides rogue transcriptionists, the secure connection could be compromised and an unscrupulous third-party contractor could sub-contract the work to a cheaper, and less experienced outfit.

But at least department morale should get a boost. Nobody likes typing.

Jackson West really hopes witness statements, victim details and other confidential information doesn't go walkabout.

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