AiThority Interview with Matthew Polega, Co-Founder, Head of Communications and Public Policy at Mark43
Hi, please tell us about your role and the team/technology you handle at Mark43?
I’m the Head of Communications and Public Policy and co-founder at Mark43, where I lead the team responsible for planning and executing all outward-facing Mark43 communications and policy efforts. Together, we’re working to reinvent the fundamentals of public safety data management in a cloud-first software ecosystem. The story of Mark43 really starts when my co-founders and I developed the first version of Mark43’s Records Management System (RMS) in college at Harvard. Today, I’m fortunate to remain deeply connected to Mark43’s mission and doing what it takes to build modern software for first responders.
What is Mark43 and what are your top solutions and services?
Mark43 has created the first multi-tenant cloud-based public safety software platform that enables public safety agencies to collect, manage and share data in real-time. The company was founded in an undergraduate Harvard engineering class after my founding team began working with the Special Projects Team of the Massachusetts State Police. To date, Mark43 has deployed its software platform to over 120 public safety agencies across the U.S. and internationally, offering a Records Management System for law enforcement reporting, investigative work, evidence tracking, and crime analysis, as well as a Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) for 911 call taking and dispatch. Our user-friendly technology is welcomed by agencies of all sizes—from Richmond Police Department in California to the New South Wales Police Force in Australia—as a way to reduce report writing times and allow first responders to spend significantly more time keeping communities safe.
How have RMS models for public safety evolved in the last 2-3 years since the arrival of automation and AI ML capabilities?
Despite an RMS being a piece of a public safety agency’s technology stack, it doesn’t confer a lot of the benefits one would expect a typical piece of technology to provide. Data entry is slow, most data is PDF-based, and users are generally frustrated at the experience. AI/ML can help us capture low-hanging fruit like importing PDFs and making them readable, which will allow users to search them like anything else stored in our database. We can also use AI / ML to help automate repetitive tasks, like identifying fields on a report that should generally be filled given a particular offense type.
Tell us more about your recent collaboration with Microsoft and how it would improve RMS adoption in the industry?
Mark43 recently launched its innovative RMS for the Miramar Police Department in Florida. With its dual-cloud capabilities, we can now support agencies seeking a solution delivered through Microsoft Azure across the U.S. and internationally. We’re excited to be working with Microsoft Azure and expanding our breadth of capabilities to provide agencies with the support that they deserve.
I’ll also add that Mark43’s RMS has always had the goal of providing easy-to-use, speedy and accurate data reporting. In the past, we’ve done so through AWS, but with the addition of Azure, we can now improve RMS adoption in the industry more broadly as patrol, supervisors, records personnel, investigators, and command staff will be able to spend more time doing their real job and less time writing, searching and checking reports.
What are the biggest barriers in the adoption of RMS models for a modern data-driven public safety agency?
Thoughtful design, speed, and simplicity are aspirational qualities that have always seemed out of reach and far too optimistic for report writing systems, which law enforcement has been saddled with for decades. RMS has become an impediment and annoyance rather than an enabler or force multiplier. At Mark43, we’ve worked hard to solve these problems–the RMS application is designed to the strictest standards and uses only the most modern technology, yielding an unparalleled application that provides immediate utility and is actually enjoyable to use. That’s also why we’re so excited to team up with Microsoft Azure–the ability to offer both AWS and Azure allows us to become an adaptable, scalable option for any agency, regardless of their legacy system.
What will Data Science look like in the next 2-3 years?
Other industries have kept pace with the changing (increasing) amount of data readily available in the world. Enormous strides have been made in healthcare, finance, and general enterprise data capture and reporting. Those industries can typically, and confidently, point to a solution that offers them a secure, easy-to-use, organization-improving system of record. Law enforcement cannot, and public safety is changing. Policy, procedure, and tactics are markedly different than they were a decade ago, and they’re different than even a year ago. And, in no industry are the challenges changing more quickly than they are within the public safety landscape.
That said, while things across public safety have changed, most vendors haven’t, and that’s what we’re fighting to change at Mark43. We stay up-to-date by providing a refreshing, battle-tested, enterprise implementation experience and product for any agency, with a special competency for major agencies. Data–both for internal agency use and accessibility for the community–is the foundation of just and equitable public safety. By continuing leveraging data, we can build a foundation upon which productive dialogue can take place.
Your prediction on the “future of Public Safety analytics”:
My prediction is that many public safety agencies currently operating on decades-old legacy systems will inevitably have to adapt, and they’ll need a professional in the space to help them do it. Every day we see organizations migrating from legacy systems to the cloud, but to do it right, you need a partner that knows how to take you there.
The frustration created by Records Management Systems in public safety is primarily levied against the report writing officer, but often creates problems for investigators, records personnel, and the leadership in agencies hoping to be able to use the application to inform the agency’s operating picture. Effective technology is the key to addressing these pains, as it allows for public safety officials to spend less time writing reports, and more time connecting with their communities. Bringing cloud-first, data-driven technology to public safety to support how our first responders serve today, and equipping agencies for the future, is vital.
Tag a person from the industry whose answers you would like to read here:
Thank you, Matthew! That was fun and we hope to see you back on AiThority.com soon.
Matthew Polega is the Co-Founder and Head of Communications and Public Policy at Mark43, where he currently leads the team responsible for planning and executing all outward-facing Mark43 efforts. Polega developed the first version of Mark43 RMS with his co-founders as an undergraduate at Harvard, and remains deeply connected to the mission and what it takes to build cutting-edge software for first responders.
He often shares best practices on government technology procurement, ensuring public safety agencies of all sizes understand how to navigate the digital age. Polega has done so as a featured blogger for GovLoop and panelist at the Code for America Summit. In 2015, he was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for Enterprise Technology. Polega holds a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering and minor in Computer Science from Harvard University, where he was also captain of the Division I Track and Field team.
Mark43 builds the world’s most powerful public safety CAD, RMS, analytics, and property and evidence platform while providing industry-leading customer care. Public safety has changed in the last 30 years. Technology vendors haven’t. Mark43 provides a refreshing, battle-tested, enterprise implementation experience and product for over 120 public safety agencies of all sizes, with a special competency for major agencies. The cloud-native products are built only with the most modern technologies and are constantly updated, guaranteeing that the platform always outpaces the rest of the market.