Sheriff’s Office saves time and money with speech recognition

Sheriff Car Door
“Given I conduct over 100 interviews annually myself, FirstDraft has been like my own personal secretary, significantly reducing the number of hours I spend on interviews and reports. FirstDraft helps me paint the complete picture for courts and provide comprehensive testimonies.” 

Sheriff Deputy

Key Benefits 

  • Reduced efforts to transcribe interviews and type reports by at least 50%
  • Decreased overhead costs by implementing ai-generated transcripts
  • Provides more opportunity to complete other important investigation tasks
  • Helps organize and prioritize interviews for multiple cases
  • Confidence to focus on conducting interviews vs annotating for later


This County Sheriff has more than 600 employees across 25 offices that provide essential public safety services in a wide variety of disciplines, including front line law enforcement, custody, protection in courts, aviation, investigations and administrative support. The Sheriff’s Office is responsible law enforcement in the unincorporated areas of the county, the county jail system, superior court security, and coroner functions. They are also contracted to provide police services to select cities in the county. 

One of the many divisions within the Sheriff’s Office is the Criminal Investigations Bureau. The Criminal Investigations Bureau investigates crimes against people and crimes against property. Criminal Investigations detectives are assigned to each of the Sheriff stations throughout the County and receive significant training and acquire special skills in investigating Homicides, Sex Crimes, Frauds, Robbery, and Burglary. 

The Challenge

The Criminal Investigations Bureau must conduct several interviews throughout each case. Making sure information and quotes collected from the interviews are accurate plays a significant role for deputies and detectives to provide comprehensive evidence when submitting their reports or when testifying in court. Initially, deputies and detectives were responsible for recording, reviewing and typing up the information they needed from their own interviews, but this proved to take time away, where they could be focusing on other important tasks in the investigations. With hundreds of interviews each year, the additional hours spent typing up interviews to complete reports ultimately had an impact on the office’s budget, so the sergeant began searching for more cost-effective solutions to transcribe interviews. At first, they tried Dragon Speak from Nuance, but found it was more for dictation and didn’t meet their primary needs for a secure, simple workflow. 

“I really enjoy having a “digital file room” for my interview transcripts to review, edit and add attachments while handling multiple cases. FirstDraft helps easily pull quotes without having to listen to the whole recording to find what was needed, saving time and department dollars.” 


The Solution

While at the 2021 California Homicide Investigators Association Annual Conference, the sergeant and fellow detectives from the department spoke with VIQ about using speech-to-text technology to simplify transcribing interviews. This resulted in the County Sheriff purchasing 13 licenses to FirstDraft to help meet their needs. Recordings are mostly captured in the interview rooms with either MobileMic Pro or an assigned recorder and then upload via VIQ’s web portal. Each user has their recorder preference for different situations but has mostly found it easier to use MobileMic Pro, given the assigned recorders require extra steps to transfer from the device to FirstDraft. Due to longer upload times for recordings over 3 hours, email notification is sent if there is anything that causes the upload to fail, which helps guarantee a transcript is properly received. 

The Results

With FirstDraft, deputies and detectives can edit the ai-generated interview transcripts, search and pull quotes to include within their investigative report within 1 hour vs the previous 3-6 hours it would take to personally transcribe the interviews. Given that most interviews are conducted with two law enforcement officials and the interviewee, the use of FirstDraft has helped the detectives modify their interview style to avoid talking over each other. The ability to request a FirstDraft of interviews has also provided deputies and detectives with flexibility to better prioritize interview transcripts. Previously, it was best to try and type the transcript immediately after the interview while it was fresh in mind, though this would be difficult to accomplish at times. When using the web portal, users can also go back later to attach the report or other relevant files to the transcript to help organize the files prior to submission. Overall, FirstDraft has helped the deputies and detectives at the County Sheriff’s office save at least half the amount of time typing up reports, as well as better organize and process transcripts into reports. 

Interested in more?

Get in touch by filling out the form below. If you have any immediate questions, contact our Sales team at (800) 263-9947.

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