In Budget Proposal, State Parks Seeks Staff, Software Renewal Funds

The California Department of Parks and Recreation has submitted a budget change proposal for staffing and software license renewal for a recently-acquired records management system that is expected to save time and money and increase safety.

This story is limited to Techwire Insider members.
This story is limited to Techwire Insider members. Login below to read this story or learn about membership.
The parks department is seeking additional funding in the proposed state budget to continue using a software solution.

In a recent Budget Change Proposal, the California Department of Parks and Recreation (CDPR) requests $1.42 million and two ongoing positions in the 2021-2022 budget, and $1.4 million ongoing from the State Parks and Recreation Fund for staffing and software license renewal for a records management system that will empower state and local compliance. Among the takeaways:

  • CDPR is in the process of implementing a records management system (RMS) and seeks the funding to come into compliance with the National Incident-Based Reporting System and California Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS/CIBRS). In August-September, the department purchased its RMS license for Mark43’s public safety software platform via Visionary Integration Professionals (VIP); it hopes to renew it in June-July, CDPR told Techwire via email. CDPR has been using the new system, the Parks Records Management System, since March 1 across its 21 districts and has moved incident tracking off paper. That’s a timely move; the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program told states in June 2016 that the Bureau would transition to NIBRS/CIBRS-only data collection by Jan. 1 of this year. CDPR is required to transition its UCR from paper to an electronic system.
    “The transition is a significant re-engineering effort to automate the department’s records management process,” according to the BCP, which indicates the previous UCR was based on a “paper-centric process and is managed by personnel from 21 districts” and its headquarters. “This system records only 24 data elements out of the 53 required data elements in the NIBRS specification. To record all 53 data elements found in the NIBRS/CIBRS specification, the department requires the purchase and maintenance of an RMS.”
  • CDPR has spent about $1.35 million and anticipates spending a total of $1.7 million on buying and standing up the new RMS, it said, adding: “This request will allow the department to continue using and maintaining the purchased RMS system as well as provide staff to manage this program.” New technologies and integrated information management systems have forever altered how law enforcement gathers, manages and analyzes information. Deploying these technologies “provides an increased workload and exposes the department to potential liability.” Public Records Act Requests also frequently request this information and come with a 10-business-day deadline that is “difficult to meet” with a paper system.
  • Having acquired its RMS, CDPR “does not have sufficient resources to support these costs long-term,” it said. But migrating off paper and to a software-as-a-service configuration is expected to yield significant benefits. A centralized RMS will eliminate manual report creating and processing and enable easy access for law enforcement and emergency-related data as well as the creation of more rapid, accurate and timely data for reports, the department said in the BCP. The new solution should also enhance staff and resident safety. Among the areas of ROI, CDPR expects the new system to reduce the time state park peace officers spend at incidents and at traffic stops, freeing up their time for other services including emergency response and customer service. According to the proposal, the department also expects to save time due to a reduction in the amount of labor required to manually enter data and search records.
  • Should the request not be approved by the Legislature in its entirety, CDPR proposes two alternatives. Approving one-time funding of about $1.1 million and no additional staff to maintain the RMS would mean the department would not be in compliance with NIBRS/CIBRS; and tasks completed in the new system would take longer as the positions sought would consolidate reports from each district and ensure NIBRS/CIBRS compliance. Simply denying the proposal would mean each “officer” must acquire RMS data using the department’s paper-based systems — “which will result in the department not being in compliance.” Remaining on paper will compromise access in the field to the central database — as well as the safety of the officers and the public, CDPR said.
Theo Douglas is Assistant Managing Editor of Techwire.