policy

From the East Coast to the West: A New Perspective on Policing

Colleen McCanna
Implementation Manager at Mark43

When my boss asked me to move from New York City to Los Angeles after only six weeks with Mark43, I surprised myself with how quickly and confidently I said yes. I have always been in love with NYC. Every morning I would walk the streets of the ‘Big Apple,’ excited to come into the office and do my part towards our purpose-driven mission.

Moving to LA meant leaving all but the job behind and stepping out of my comfort zone. But I knew I was given an opportunity of a lifetime to see policing from coast to coast, and be the first employee with boots on the ground in LA. I would have more exposure to our customers, which is ideal as a member of our implementation team. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that every day is 78 degrees and sunny.

“I’m living in the same community that I am serving, and because of that I’ve become part of the community in almost every aspect of my life.”

When I moved to LA, our customers immediately began to look out for me. I was invited to BBQs, given car mechanic references, and was even introduced to the charity organization that I now work with. I’m living in the same area that I am serving, and because of that I’ve become part of the community in almost every aspect of my life. This is an experience similar to that of my colleagues in Washington, D.C. who work closely with the Metropolitan Police Department.

I typically spend about half of my week at customer departments. I’ll meet with patrol officers, records administrators, detectives, and forensic analysts to understand how they write reports and work cases. I’ll even go on ride-alongs with patrol officers to learn how they interact with policing software in their cars. As one officer told me — once you actually pull up the curtain, you’ll see it’s little less like CSI: Miami and a little more like Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It figures, making life comparisons to TV shows — must have been an LA officer.

The other half of my week is spent connecting with my colleagues in NYC, DC, Charlotte and Toronto. I have regular check-ins with the rest of the implementation team on training plans and department assessments. I also have calls and meetings with the engineering team to review customer feedback and specific department workflows requirements.

Since working with Mark43 customers on both coasts, I’ve been able to observe different regional policing styles and even share best practices between the two. Our cloud-based platform means that one agency’s feedback can easily benefit every agency. When a department requests a new feature, we evaluate its importance across all of our customers, rack and stack it, and then deploy it — but when we deploy it, we offer it to every department, giving them the option to opt in or out.

Having been on the ground with customers both in the east and west, I’m able to discern what features are regional and which are national. This insight makes me better at serving first responders across the U.S. Since joining the team at Mark43, my passion for the industry has only deepened and my move to LA has allowed me to continue following that passion in a much bigger way.