Contributed by:Tamara Hegelson, Records Supervisor, Shakopee Police Department
The Shakopee Police Department needed to combat staffing and budget reductions while maintaining quality evidence data, records access to external partner agencies and long-term retention of documents. By creating a custom-made photo management system and integrating Laserfiche Workflow and Laserfiche WebLink with a legacy Records Management System, the Department increased internal and external access to critical police data for better insight into crime patterns and improved investigations.
“Allowing for direct entry of data by front end users, subject to an approval process, is a powerful time saving tool that is highly desirable by agencies looking to leverage the efficiencies of field reporting,” Tamara Hegelson, Records Supervisor.
Case Report Metadata Triggering Workflow
The Shakopee Police Department Case Report Template in Laserfiche Workflow serves many functions that aid the Department with on-the-fly and in-depth reporting, supplying quick, summarized information on a case and directing the work flow of various reports.
Four different user groups complete the sections of the template. Actions taken by the users in various fields direct the work flow of the document. Reports can be:
- Approved and passed on to the next step of the workflow.
- Approved with a pending status so that the document can be pushed through to the next step and looped back to the approver.
- Returned to the author for changes or editing.
Reports can also be assigned to a specific individual for casework follow-up. When an assignment occurs:
- The individual receives an e-mail notification of the assignment with a link back to the document.
- A copy of the case folder is also routed to the user’s work folder in Laserfiche where they can track all of their assignments in one easy location.
- Reports returned to the author are handled by Workflow in the same manner. Sticky notes are used to indicate concerns or areas of the report that the approver wishes the author to review or modify.
Once the requested changes have been made to the report, Workflow pushes the report from the author’s folder and routes it back to the approver for review.
Users can designate where the report should be disseminated after processing by selecting any combination of entities or individuals to receive a copy of the completed report. Workflow will route a copy of the document to the entity’s folder in the Laserfiche repository, and send that entity an email with a link back to the document.
Reports in Routing Folder
The Reports in Routing folder has made a huge and immediate impact on the Department’s ability to access and view data. Through this folder, users can:
- View all reports that are active in Laserfiche Workflow in one centralized location
- Quickly locate Priority and In Custody case report
- Sort data by columns from the Case Report template to create a high view ad-hoc report of documents and activity instantaneously.
- This view allows officers the means to track the life of a case report and keep informed on recent police activity.
Integration with Legacy Systems
Integrating Laserfiche tools with the Police Department’s 20-year old Records Management System, New World, provided a game-changing functionality that allowed the department to easily access diverse types of files and information associated with a single case. “Already officers have seen that Laserfiche search function provides them access to data they never would consider for law enforcement purposes. In a recent case officers were able to find the contact information for a juvenile’s parents from a building permit that was filed with the city,” explains Hegelson.
The integration works as follows:
- Officers access an incident report in New World.
- By right-clicking on the New World screen, a box with a “Search Laserfiche” button pops up.
- Clicking the button launches Laserfiche and automatically takes the user directly to the right case folder, where he can view the evidence photos.
“Already officers have seen that Laserfiche search function provides them access to data they never would consider for law enforcement purposes.”
Photo Management Saves Thousands
To store unalterable photos, and streamline photo retrieval and copying, the Department built its own internal photo management application linked to the New World RMS, allowing the ability to create case folders for storage of unalterable photos. “It allowed internal users on demand access and external partners access through a secured website. This homegrown application has been well received by officers because of its simplicity, ease of operation and intuitiveness,” said Hegelson.
Entering 23,032 photos into the Laserfiche photo repository in the first year alone saved each officer over 30 minutes per case. Staff previously requested photo discs from the evidence room, printed the photos and included them in case files for the County Attorney’s Office, requiring significant front and back end processing and dissemination. Laserfiche eliminated photo retrieval and copying from records processing so officers can track and associate photos together with ease.
By switching to Laserfiche for its photo management, the Department saved 15,000 hours of staff time, enough labor to fill seven full time positions and $300,000 in wages.
Police department Graffiti file:
By creating a secured URL using Laserfiche WebLink to move reports online automatically, the Department gives external partners direct access to case files based on individual partner preferences and specialized accommodations.
The example below illustrates how the attorneys’ offices that the Police Department works with have instant self-service access to the necessary case files through Weblink. Prior to Laserfiche, these files would have to be copied and couriered daily, faxed, and scanned and emailed.
Under full deployment, the department will remotely access Laserfiche through the web providing access from squad cars and off-site locations. Personnel will carry with them a complete archive of case file information.