With just under 10,000 residents, Aransas Pass, Texas is a small city, but that doesn’t mean its police department isn’t busy. Thirty-two officers, nine telecommunications officers, two animal control officers, two administrative staff, and a handful of volunteers fight crime, provide school resource officers, keep the community informed about new ordinances, are responsible for animal services, and provide self-defense classes for civilians.
With its hands full keeping the community safe, the employees of the Aransas Pass Police Department don’t need to waste time looking for keys. Not only were keys being misplaced but department credit cards were also getting lost, resulting in frustration and wasted time. A paper check-out log was used, but most of the time it was just ignored. On top of that, all keys and credit cards were available to all staff, making permissions and organization a nightmare.
The Keycafe SmartBox turned out to be the perfect solution.
“Our patrol vehicle keys are stored in the box,” says David Offalter, Police IT Manager. “When officers come on shift, they will find the key to their unit within the Keycafe mobile app and check it out of the box. At the end of their shift, they return it using the touch display on the box.” Because each officer is identified by their Keycafe account while logged into the mobile app, the digital record can’t be ignored like the paper log was.
The office was also struggling to keep department credit cards secure while making them available to authorized employees when needed. The SmartBox locker-style boxes allow for the storage of small objects in addition to keys, so using it for credit cards made perfect sense. Now all department keys are tagged with a Keycafe fob, and a record is created every time a key or credit card is picked up or dropped off from the lockbox. Additionally, keys and credit cards can now be restricted to employees who are eligible to use them, eliminating the risk of unauthorized use.
“Keycafe was the only solution that we found that offered the locker boxes-style solution,” Offalter says. “[It] is designed to be flexible to the customer’s needs.”
The officers and other members of the force no longer have to scramble when credit cards or the keys to department vehicles go missing. Previous to using Keycafe, the department would have to send out a mass email and wait for employees to respond. Thanks to the records automatically generated by the Keycafe system, they always know who last took out a key. According to Police Chief Eric Blanchard, the department’s “aggravation level related to these issues is at an all-time low”.
“Everyone loves the system,” says Offalter. “It has saved us a lot of time tracking down keys. Now if a key is missing, we know exactly where to go to find it.”