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Speech Recognition for Law Enforcement

Documentation is an essential function in law enforcement. It needs to be accurate and thorough, but not so time-consuming that it compromises other critical functions of public safety officers. Increasingly, law enforcement agencies are using speech recognition software to complete reports while avoiding the laborious task of hand typing.

How can speech recognition software assist you or your officers?

  • Speech recognition software is inexpensive, simple to use, works on any recent vintage Windows-based pc, and allows rapid creation of text using voice in virtually all common word processing and report-generating programs.

  • Speech recognition software allows simple command and control functionality within a computer which can streamline computer based functions both in the office and while on the road

  • Use of simple-to-create "commands" or macros allows insertion of commonly used text with a simple voice command

See it in Action

Sometimes "seeing is believing". See how a police department in Clearwater, Florida has used speech recognition software to improve officer productivity.


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Need something in writing? Click here to view a Nuance "white paper" on the experience of the Clearwater Police Department with Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Getting Started

Hardware (Computer):

1. A relatively recent vintage computer (either laptop or desktop) is needed. The bare bones requirements are a Windows based PC with the specifications shown below. If your officer intends to create reports while on the road or already has a good quality laptop, a laptop computer will be far more practical than a desktop unit. In general, faster processors are associated with better performance in terms of speed, but not necessarily any difference in accuracy. At least 2 MB of RAM is recommended.

  • CPU: minimum 1 GHz Intel® Pentium® or equivalent AMD processor or 1.66 GHz Intel® Atom® processor. We recommend 1.8 GHz Intel Dual Core or equivalent AMD processor. (IMPORTANT: SSE2 instruction set required)
  • Processor Cache: minimum 512 KB. We recommend 2 MB.
  • Free hard disk space: 2.5 GB (2.8 GB for localized non-English versions)

2. A good quality microphone: Dragon NaturallySpeaking is packaged with a starter microphone which will give reasonable results and we recommend that you start with this microphone when making an assessment as to whether speech recognition software is a workable solution for you or your department. If it works, though, but accuracy isn't quite to the level you expect, then we suggest that you consider upgrading to a better microphone. Some common upgrade scenarios are listed below:

Inexpensive Replacement: Are you using Dragon non-mission-critical dictation but lost the microphone that came with your product and looking for an inexpensive replacement? Check out the Cyber Acoustics AC101 or AC201. They're comfortable, durable, inexpensive, and work fine.

Cost effective upgrade: Looking to upgrade from the microphone that came with Dragon but have a limited budget? Consider the Radio Shack Sennheiser knockoff. This product offers a significant improvement in the accuracy and external noise rejection without emptying your wallet.

Best Wired Microphone: Looking for the highest quality wired microphone? Money not a major limitation? See Microphones for Advanced Users and consider any of the following:

  • Sennheiser ME3: this is our personal favorite and probably not a coincident, the best selling microphone on our site. It's also our least returned product. We recommend the "combo" that comes with the Andrea Pure Audio MA USB adapter for reliable excellent results.
  • Audio-Technica Pro 8HEmV: this mic is solid competion for the ME3 and a bit less expensive, but for many a bit less comfortable given that it mounts with pressure pads pushing against the temple.
  • UmeVoice theBoom "O" (single ear) or "C" (both ears). The UmeVoice mics have an amazing microphone element this is nearly the match of the ME3, although these are clearly not built with the reliabilty/durability of the ME3 or 8HEmV.

Best Wireless Microphone with simultaneous wired telephone use: Looking for the best wireless microphone that can also be used with your wired telephone? Pick the Sennheiser SD Pro-1 (one speaker) or SD Pro-2 (two speakers). Sennheiser knows how to do it right and these are the mics that sit on OUR desks. We love them!

Best Wireless Microphone for computer use only: If you absolutely need bluetooth, consider the VXI Xpress. We should warn you, though, BlueTooth can be trickly and we get a lot of returns on virtually every Bluetooth device we sell. For a high quality wireless headset microphone which is also great for listening to music and that works on a "plug-and-play" basis (no connection issues), consider the Andrea WNC 1500.

Best hand-held mic for use with Dragon:

  • If you using the medical version of Dragon and looking for the convenience of a hand-held microphone with programmable buttons? Get the Dictaphone PowerMic II
  • If you are using a non-medical version of Dragon, you can use the PowerMic II described above if you combine it with Octopus USB controller. Otherwise consider the use of Philips SpeechMike Premium (wired with USB interface) or the SpeechMike Air (wireless with base connecting via USB)

Best Desktop Microphone: Want a high quality desktop microphone without a lot of complications? Choose the Speechware 3-in-1, 6-in-1 or 9-in-1 Tablemike (see "Desktop Microphones").


Dragon 12 Legal EditionDepending upon the extent of speech recognition use, either the Premium or Professional version of the software may be used. These are the basic differences:

  • Dragon Premium: Although the most affordable version, we recommend this version only if your use of speech recognition is not "mission critical". Although this version is the least expensive and includes the same speech recognition engine used in all versions of Dragon, it allows only a single installation, does not allow for "roaming user" installations, and does not provide for building of advanced commands. To learn more about Dragon Premium, please visit our Dragon 12 Premium Page.

    Dragon Professional:
    This is the ideal version of Dragon software for anyone but the doctor or lawyer (special medical and legal versions are available). This version of Dragon includes almost everything but specialized vocabularies and integration with the PowerMic II microphone. It allows roaming user installation and creation of advanced commands. This is the version we recommend for most serious users of speech recognition, but many can get by with the Premium. To learn more about this version, please visit our Dragon 12 Professional Page.


Although accuracy is amazing good out of the box, users will definitely benefit from time getting to know the software and being trained on its extensive functionality. There are several ways in which this can happen:

  • USER GUIDE: Virtually everything can be learned by reading the User Guide, but this is often a slow and laborious process which may excessively time consuming for the average user. Click here to see a list of User Guides.

  • DRAGON END-USER WORKBOOKS: these are a series of workbooks designed around each Dragon release which provides valuable information. These are free to download. Click here to see the currently available workbooks.

  • DVD TRAINING: Several DVD teaching series are available. We recommend that you visit our Training Page to see some of these products.

  • PERSONALIZED TRAINING: We offer personalized training via the internet which can be set up at a convenient time and which is charged at an hourly rate of $100. For the average user, 1-2 hours of training will give them a good start. We would consider this a last resort for most situations and recommend the above methods first. For information on personalized training, please contact

Recommended Products:

Sennheiser ME3 Combination Package

Recommended package for best speech recognition results!

Sennheiser ME3 ComboFor predictably great results we recommend using the Sennheiser ME3 with the Andrea USB sound adapter. This is our best selling microphone and the one we use ourselves.

To make the purchase of this relatively expensive hardware a bit more bearable, we offer special savings when you purchase all three of the main items in this package.

Included in the package:

  • Sennheiser ME3 Microphone
  • Andrea USB Adapter
  • 210D Nylon Microphone Storage Bag
  • Set-up Instructions

Comments: We believe that with suitable hardware and good enunciation, this package will offer the best accuracy and unrivaled noise cancellation. This is the microphone to which all others are compared.

Special Combo with Sennheiser ME3 (standard audio plug) and Andrea USB Sound Adapter.

MSRP: $247.95

Learn more

Recycle SymbolIf your budget is extremely tight, consider purchasing a "barely used" version of this product from our stock of returned items. Learn more ...

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