How Ada County Sheriff’s Office Automated Departmental Records
Laserfiche Solution Contributed By: Travis Curtis, Law Enforcement Records Tech/Project Lead, Ada County Sheriff’s Office
At the Ada County Sheriff’s Office, we handle a large number of reports daily from multiple agencies. Each department has different forms and retention requirements. Here is how we used Laserfiche Workflow in our Departmental Records (DR) division to efficiently file and share police reports among agencies and with police officers in the field.
Capture the reports
Each department’s police report is in a different format. Hard copies of these reports arrive at the Ada County Sheriff’s Office from substations and officers in the field.
The first step is to scan them into the Laserfiche repository. Scanning technicians do this using Laserfiche Scanning.
During the scanning process, the tech selects the “Report Records Capture” template and manually enters the important metadata: DR Number (the identification number), Incident Type (based on the “Occurrence” field in the report), Organization, Date Reported and Doc Type. The Series/Box Number/Year field is optional, and applies to report supplements that are received and scanned in after the initial report has been archived. Our initial reports are stored by DR Number sequentially in boxes and sent to the storage warehouse. New updates to reports are boxed separately before being sent to the warehouse and the Series/Box Number/Year field is utilized to track those individual files.
After scanning the report, the scanning tech sends it to the Route Files folder in the Laserfiche repository by clicking on the Store link.
This triggers the Sheriff Workflow, described in detail in the next section.
Process the reports
All Laserfiche workflows have Starting Rules—certain conditions that must be met to initiate the particular workflow. The Starting Rules for the Sheriff Workflow are:
- The document is associated with the “Records Report Capture” template.
- The report path equals Route.
Once these rules have been met, the workflow is triggered. Here is the full workflow, but I will break it down into the individual activities.
In this step, field values from the “Records Report Capture” template are retrieved for use as tokens in the rest of the workflow.
Toolkit Script (VB.NET)
Next, to indicate that the electronic version of this document is just a copy we wrote a custom VB.NET script that adds a public stamp with the text “Copy” to the document. The original hard copy of the initial report and all the supplements is retained in our files (as required by each agency’s retention requirements).
We now need to move the document from the Route Files folder into a new folder in the repository for storage. Tokens are used to determine where this report will be filed. The new file path is: OrganizationYearDR Number. If these folders don’t exist, they are created.
In order to extract only the year from the Date Reported field, we use regular expressions. For example, in this case we type:
The first part is the token obtained from the Retrieve Field Values
activity and the part after the “#” is the regular expression that specifies that only the year needs to be extracted.
Next, the incident report document is renamed (DR Number – Doc Type) with tokens used to standardize the naming convention.
Like most police agencies we have some police records that involve employees, family members or high-profile citizens and we don’t want everyone in the department to be able to view their files. Therefore, we use a Routing Decision activity to determine which of these files need additional security measures applied to them.
- First branch:
- Every police report has a DR Number automatically assigned. If the document has a DR Number that is equal to any of the below, then this branch will kick off. Future DR Numbers of reports that are deemed confidential can be added to this list by modifying the Condition section of the Routing Decision activity.
- An Assign Tags activity assigns a Confidential tag to this document, preventing unauthorized users from viewing these reports. These tags are set up in the Laserfiche Administration Console. In the Console we can also define which users can view which tags. In this example, only supervisors and the records manager can view the documents with a Confidential tag.
- Next, an E-mail activity notifies me, as records tech/project lead, of the new confidential document. This enables me to retrieve the paper original and store it securely.
- Second branch:
- All non-confidential documents are processed through this branch. There are no additional processes within this branch.
Here is what the final incident report looks like when processed using the Sheriff Workflow. This police report has been filed in the correct location based on the department, year and DR Number: ADA/ 2012 /12345. This report is not a confidential file, so no Confidential tag has been added.
Sharing the reports
If an officer in the field needs access to a report, he simply calls the office and an employee searches for the required report in Laserfiche by using the Field search. Once he finds the required document, he right clicks on it and selects Send Document in E-mail. This generates a PDF copy of the report, which is e-mailed to the officer to view on his mobile device.
Our police department substations can also access these reports directly through Laserfiche Web Access.
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