August 26, 2016
By Joe Maniscalco
New York, NY – Could new cloud-based software at least marginally inspired by a Marvel Comics superhero cut down on police paperwork and make better cops? Scott Crouch, the 20-something, Harvard-educated engineer behind the Mark43 Records Management System says it can.
“Putting officers back out on the streets and getting them back on patrol, instead of writing a report, is what every single police officer you talk to wants,” the 25-year-old Crouch recently told LaboPress.
Crouch and a few tech-minded college buddies began devising the Mark43 Records Management System with input from Springfield, Massachusetts State Troopers, back in 2012 when he was still a junior at Harvard.
“What we saw was officers feeling neglected by technology,” Crouch says. “These guys were using stuff that was like 15 to 20 years old. It became a personal mission for us to build them something better than what they had.”
The Mark43 Records Management System, already being utilized by the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., not only significantly cuts down on the time needed to complete police reports, according to Crouch, it also has the power to rapidly deliver better resources into the hands of cops when it's most crucial.
“If you’re a cop and you pull someone over, it’s so hard right now to access their complete criminal history,” Crouch says.”It’s so hard for them to make informed decisions about who they’re dealing with, knowing whether they could be armed and dangerous or whether they could have a history of assaulting a law enforcement officer before. What we’re doing with our system is really surfacing a lot of that data, all data that’s been collected by police before – and putting it immediately in front of police officers so they can make better decisions about how they’re going to deal with someone.”
The same cloud-based system also allows for better collaboration between detectives working important investigations.
“One of the best things about putting it on the cloud is that it can finally enable data sharing between departments,” Crouch says. “You look at the way it’s set up right now, and so many of these departments have on-premise servers in their basements with their systems. So, if you’re two neighboring departments and you have on premise systems on your own servers, there’s no data transport.”
In D.C., the Mark43 is also helping to streamline report writing — without putting anyone out of a job.
“No one lost their job in Washington, D.C. because it was implemented and no one was removed,” Crouch says. “It actually just saved [officers] time to focus on other things.”
Although the NYPD is not currently utilizing the Mark43 Records Management System, the company has staked out headquarters on Madison Avenue, and has attracted early backing from the likes of Retried U.S. General David Petraeus and former Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis.
“The more data you give a police officer on someone, the better informed decision they’re going to be able to make about how they interact with that person,” Crouch says. “We need to give police officers the best tools that we can, and that starts with better data, and better accountability behind that data.”
And in case you're still wondering, the Mark43 is named after Iron Man's armor from in the movies.