My VB Project Is An Official Police Department Form

My officers are required to submit a “Statement in Support of Warrantless Arrest” (Warrantless Arrest) and a “Determination of Probable Cause” (PC) to the courts when arresting someone on new charges. Much of the same information on the Warrantless Arrest such as the subject’s name, the subject’s date of birth, date and time of arrest and crimes charged, etc. are also required on the PC. I wanted to find a way to allow officers to only enter that information once. More info can be found on the main project page.

Approved for use!

On July 30, 2015 my deputy chief approved the use of my Combined Probable Cause and Warrantless Arrest Form and made it available to patrol officers. The form was created by modifying current forms and creating Visual Basic code to retrieve information and populate the form.

The two biggest issues I had was getting feedback from my officers during development enabling spellcheck from the document.

You would think working on a project that would make the officers’ work easier would mean that I would have plenty of willing testers. I did not. Luckily, the head of our Records Department was great at testing the form and responding quickly which allowed me to finish the project.

Enabling spellcheck was a pain because I needed to keep the document protected, but also allow spellcheck for the narrative officers have to write to complete the Warrantless Arrest. I also had to make sure the functionality was baked into the document since officers would be using different computers to complete the form. Here is what I ended up creating:

PCandWASpellCheckScreenShot110215

The orange text is set to only visible on the screen. It then unprotects the document, checks spelling, then protects the document after it is done. I realize this is not the most secure way and that I’m sure if someone wanted to bork up the document it wouldn’t be hard, but it works for this case.

I’m looking forward to working on a few more projects to improve things at my department, but for now, this one is done!

My Latest Projects: Follow Sweeper and Fixing Police Paperwork with VB

Well my winter break from school work is coming to a close. Monday I start my “Advanced Algorithms” and “Ethics in IT” courses through Regis University’s College of Computer Science and Information Sciences online program. My goal has always been to work on projects when I have a break from school work and I’m excited to see that I’ve actually been doing it! Here’s what I’ve been working on…

Follow Sweeper

twitter-logo-round-edgesAs most people reading this probably know, I’m a big fan of Twitter. Unfortunately, Twitter has a crazy rule that unless your follower:following ratio is over some super secret ratio then you can’t follow more than 2000 people. With my interest in Colorado Tech, I am constantly at that limit, which means I end up unable to follow new people. I knew that there were some Twitter accounts that I was following that were inactive, but there is no easy way to find which accounts were inactive, so Follow Sweeper was created.

It’s written in Ruby and gives me a way to play with Ruby and the Twitter API without worrying too much abou Rails or any other framework although Rails is likely in Follow Sweeper’s future. I have a project page for Follow Sweeper but the best way to follow its progress is on the Follow Sweeper GitHub page.

Streamlining Police Officer Paperwork with Word and Visual Basic

cops1I work as a police dispatcher for a small department in the Denver, Colorado metro area. When I heard that officers were annoyed with some of the duplication they encountered when doing paperwork I started looking into their process to see if there was a way I could help. Officers are required to submit a “Statement in Support of Warrantless Arrest” (Warrantless Arrest) and a “Determination of Probable Cause” (PC) to the courts when arresting someone on new charges. Much of the same information on the Warrantless Arrest such as the subject’s name, the subject’s date of birth, date and time of arrest and crimes charged, etc. are also required on the PC. I wanted to find a way to allow officers to only enter that information once.

The only thing that bothers me about this project is that I couldn’t come up with a short, catchy name for it and an acronym is completely out of the question (SPOPWVB is very un-catchy). I stumbled into a solution using Visual Basic in Microsoft Word. You can check out the project on the Streamlining Police Officer Paperwork with Word and Visual Basic project page.

You can see all my projects on my aptly named Projects page. Any feedback, assistance and advice  on any of my projects is always appreciated!