BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — The Bakersfield Police Department has been testing a new automated service meant to ease any anxiety the public may have about calling 9-1-1. The service helps officers follow up with people who call for police, keeping people updated on police progress, as well as keeping police informed about how well the people they serve think they're doing their job.
BPD has been using SPIDR Tech, first available in 2015, since 2022, and according to SPIDR Tech General Manager Rohan Galloway-Dawkins, the company's goal is expressed in its motto: Modern customer service for public safety.
"That two-way communication really improves the experience for the consumer. In this case, we're bringing that same type of approach to public safety to try and improve that relationship between the public safety agencies, law enforcement agencies, and the citizen community," said Galloway-Dawkins.
According to Galloway-Dawkins, the way SPIDR Tech works is that after all call is placed, the caller will receive a notification letting them know whether the call was dispatched or delayed. Once emergency services have responded, an automated survey is sent to the caller's phone. This survey asks for honest feedback which the Bakersfield Police can use to improve their services.
BPD Public Information Officer Robert Pair says that even though the main goal is to maximize efficiency and improve response times, the survey component will also benefit the city in other ways.
"We can also use it for staffing levels as far as specific areas, if we're seeing trends, maybe identify potential issues in service," said Pair.
Galloway-Dawkins adds that SPIDR Tech also benefits call center workers who have a constant overflow of calls, by helping them separate immediate emergency calls from non-immediate calls.
"A call center that was already hanging on by its fingernails looking to provide service is now being overwhelmed by these repeated calls. So there was a recognition not only of the need for better service, but also the need form the public safety side to lower some of those call volumes," said Galloway-Dawkins.
According to the Bakersfield Police Department's annual review, a total of 115,526 surveys were sent to the public, and 13,579 were sent back. In the past year, BPD says roughly 65 percent of people surveyed were satisfied with their follow up, and overall public safety has improved.
Galloway-Dawkins says that though public safety is SPIDR Tech's main expertise, the system also creates a much healthier relationship between the public and law enforcement.
"All of the agencies that we've engaged with when they're using the SPIDR solution have seen a trend upwards in their satisfaction scores that are coming back from the surveys, both as a result of better customer service on the front end," said Galloway-Dawkins.
SPIDR Tech is currently being used by more than 100 agencies across North America in both the U.S. and Canada. The company hopes to continue to expand access and to find easier ways to assist public safety agencies.