New national survey results show first responders want mobile-friendly technology and AI to streamline reporting and better serve their communities

First responders have been driving a shift toward technology that can minimize their time behind a desk in recent years so they can spend more time in the field where they are needed most. The article below covers the results of a recent survey of first responders that demonstrates an ongoing desire for cloud-based solutions that will help improve efficiency in reporting and maximize productivity.

Mark43, the leading cloud-native public safety software company, today announced the results of a U.S. national survey of first responders, showing that first responders want mobility, flexibility and AI to save time while writing reports so they can spend more time serving their communities. Public safety professionals want cloud-native and mobile-friendly technology upgrades to improve first responder reporting and efficiency. A recently released 2024 U.S. Public Safety Trends Report documents the complete survey results.

“Public safety professionals are spending up to half their shift filling out reports, rather than addressing operational needs and responding to calls for service. And on top of that, 70% of first responders need to use overtime to finish paperwork. We also learned that paperwork is the top activity that first responders spend their time on, ahead of proactive crime prevention and working with youth,” said Matthew Polega, Co-founder and President, Mark43. “While report writing is a reality for any public safety professional, it doesn’t have to be this time-consuming. Public safety agencies need modern technology — like cloud-native records management systems and analytics platforms — so they can get back to the job of policing. Our 2024 U.S. Public Safety Trends Report shows that technology plays a central role in everything a public safety agency does, and by using Mark43 technology, first responders can improve the safety and quality of life for all.”

The below results from the survey show the vast majority of first responders’ concerns about the time they spend on reporting, their preference for flexibility, and their support for AI.

First responders are concerned about the time they spend on reporting.

  • A near-total majority (91%) of first responders believe data reporting processes could be improved at their organizations, a 5% increase over the 2023 U.S. Public Safety Trends survey, illustrating a need for integrated technology systems to streamline this process.
  • The average first responder spends nearly half (49%) of their shift doing paperwork.
  • Nearly three-quarters of respondents (70%) have spent an entire shift completing paperwork, revealing a critical need for better resource allocation and modern technology to improve productivity.
  • Paperwork is the top activity that first responders spend their time on, ahead of proactive crime prevention and working with youth.

First responders prefer having the freedom of flexible work.

  • A majority (61%) of first responders return to a physical location to fill out reports. This points to a need for cloud-native infrastructure that supports flexibility and increased productivity.
  • A near-total majority (91%) of first responders are more likely to extend their career timeline if they have the freedom to work remotely. This demonstrates a strong desire for flexibility and mobility, which dispatchers could have with cloud-native infrastructure.
  • Eighty-nine percent of first responders use their mobile phones as part of their everyday work tasks, revealing a critical need for mobile-friendly technology to ensure they can work anywhere and stay connected to the people they serve.

First responders support AI adoption.

  • A majority (65%) of public safety agencies are adopting AI, which 77% of first responders support. Eighty-four percent think AI would save time, and 72% believe it could help reduce crime. AI and other emerging technologies like cloud-native software systems support first responders and allow them to spend more time in the community.
  • Eighty-one percent of first responders trust their agency to use AI responsibly, which opens the door for conversations about modernizing the technology they use on the job to create efficiencies and better protect the community.

The Mark43 2024 U.S. Public Safety Trends report includes complete survey results and trends.

Using the expertise of emergency responders collected through the survey, insight from Mark43 customers and input from leading luminaries in law enforcement, the Mark43 2024 U.S. Public Safety Trends Report identifies the below emerging six trends that will impact public safety in 2024 and beyond:

  1. Artificial Intelligence is here to stay.
  2. Modern technology is a solution to the recruitment and retention crisis.
  3. Technology systems must be resilient and secure.
  4. Mobility is not the future, it’s the now.
  5. Breaking data out of silos is critical for facilitating community trust and multi-agency coordination.
  6. Gun violence still requires a relentless focus, and modern technology is a critical component.

“In 2024, we will see leading public safety agencies prioritize cloud-native systems and responsibly embrace AI to support efficiency and mobility, better allocate resources, and ultimately, serve their communities even more effectively,” Polega said.

Survey methodology

A national online survey of 349 first responders was conducted by Propeller Insights between October 3 and October 18, 2023. Respondents opted into an online database; from there, they were targeted based on demographics. To further confirm qualifications, respondents were asked to verify their information in the survey itself with self-identifying qualifications. The maximum margin of sampling error was +/- 5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence.


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