If you commit a crime in Stockton, CA, expect the police report to be around forever. This permanent retention policy is great news for investigators; however, paper-based reporting posed serious problems for the police records department, which had to store, manage, and retrieve the more than 1.5 million documents stored on-site.
"In 2002, there were reports everywhere -- all in hard copy," says Ron Birchard, supervising police records assistant for the City of Stockton Police Department (PD). "In addition to being costly, off-site storage was not a possibility because security standards wouldn't allow outsourced staff to go through boxes to retrieve reports."
Meanwhile, records assistants were kept busy copying handwritten reports and attachments and distributing them to the appropriate approvers and agencies. More than 75,000 reports averaging three to four pages in length were sorted, copied, distributed, and filed by staff members in 2003. So, it was less than welcome news when the records department learned that its staff was going to be reduced by 20% due to budget cuts and transfer of staff to a new substation.
In response, Stockton's police records department implemented OnBase by Hyland Software. OnBase is enterprise-class software that combines integrated document management, business process management, and records management in a single application.
Concurrent with its OnBase implementation, the Stockton PD also implemented electronic report creation from Tiburon Inc.'s RMSTM, a record management system for law enforcement. Officers can complete electronic forms, either at PCs in the office or on laptops in their cars. The completed reports are reviewed by the sergeant for compliance with reporting standards and verified by the records department. Using the OnBase Virtual Print Driver module, importing the final version of the report into the OnBase repository is as easy as printing. Additional documentation is scanned into OnBase at either the main office or the northern substation.
Between electronic reports and scanned images, about 800 to 1,000 documents are entered into OnBase each day. Anyone with appropriate privileges can search the repository for documents and retrieve them immediately. This capability has significantly reduced the demand on records staffers, allowing the records department to absorb the decrease in staffing.