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Hey, Mr. Postman don't bring me a letter.

I'm not in the office this week because I have been at the FARA Symposium in Albuquerque.  In preparation for being away, I wrote the post below and had it queued up to automatically go live at the appropriate time. On Monday, Public Safety Corporation(PSC) held their annual Users Conference and let me tell you that some brilliant things are on the way. If you missed the conference, you can read about some of the exciting news here. During the meeting, they asked if there were things that users would like to see added to CryWolf®.  Of course, I have a list at the office of things I would like to see, but one thing that has been weighing heavy on my mind is how to reduce our postage costs.  This is especially critical for my unit since we have already exceeded our postage budget and there are still a few months to go this fiscal year.  In pursuit of a solution, I have been examining ways to do more correspondence through e-mail, but was in a dilemma because not all citizens have or want their notices to arrive via e-mail. I guess what I was looking for was an opt-out option. When PSC asked the group for input, I was the first to raise my hand and explain what I wanted.  Before I could even finish, the amazing Ed Chicca (the "inventor" of CryWolf® and a geek god) had pulled up an account window and said "like this?" and there on the screen on the "Additional Info" tab was the option to check a box so that all letters generated for that account would be e-mailed automatically.  So I didn't get an opt-out option but I did get an opt-in option. Amazing. The moral to that story is ask and you shall receive. (I can't tell you how often this happens where I want one thing, but PSC shows me a different way that works). I will let you know in the coming months how we incorporate this into practice. Now back to our regular scheduled post:

If your unit is considering increasing the number of e-mails generated through CryWolf®, there are some settings that may make citizens more comfortable when they are the recipients of those emails.
On the General tab in Maintenance, scroll down to General and then over to General Information Settings.
In the eMail Settings box of the General System Settings screen, be sure to put a message in the eMail Subject Line (green arrow below). For example, we use "Message from XYZ Sheriff's Office False Alarm Unit". This doesn't eliminate all questions from citizens, but it has helped tremendously.

Currently, certain letters are set so that the system sends the letter as an email to those with an email address on file.  For those without email addresses, the letter remains in the print queue and is then printed and mailed in the traditional manner. We have not yet eliminated mailing invoices, but we do respond to all web based queries and updates via e-mail.
We have found that modifying the body of the email message to explain the pdf attachment has been helpful.*  To do so, simply create a cover letter so that the body of the email has your chosen wording. We have discussed creating letters before. This time, the "Use" should be email cover letter. Once the letter is created, be sure to tell CryWolf to use it by choosing it from the Account Cover Ltr pull down menu on the General System Settings screen shown marked with the red arrow above. Our cover letter has wording similar to this:
"This message was sent from the XYZ Sheriff's Office False Alarm Reduction Unit. An important message about your alarm system registration is attached as a pdf document. If you have any  questions, please contact the office."

*It is possible to send letters as the body of the e-mail instead of as an attachment but at this time my unit has chosen not to use that option.


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