Porter County, Indiana, population 150,000, is located on the southern tip of Lake Michigan. The Sheriff’s department employs more than 150 officers and civilians who work in the criminal justice system. The Sheriff’s department also houses the 911 dispatch center and manages and stores warrants for the entire county.
Restricted budgets do not compromise document security
Budget cutbacks prompted Sheriff David Reynolds to consider document management technology to free staff for more strategic tasks by reducing time spent on manual paper-based tasks. An automated workflow system supported by a secure electronic document management solution was needed to manage four basic types of documents: warrants, case reports, tickets and jail documentation.
Documents such as warrants require a secure, quickly accessible repository. They are issued by a judge, recorded by a county clerk and issued to the Sheriff’s Warrant Division. New warrants are received in batches of 30-50 up to three times a week and are filed alphabetically. Warrants remains active until an arrest is made or the warrant is recalled.
The Case Reports process needed a rehaul in terms of storage, access and retrieval. Paper documents are generated every time a deputy responds to an incident. The average report is 10-12 pages long. Supplementary reports needed to be filed with the initial report. The volume of Case Reports filed was large and retrieval time took over 15 minutes.
The Sheriff’s department is required to store a copy of every ticket issued. With 200 plus tickets issued a week and a county requirement to store the tickets for 10 years, finding a requested ticket was time-consuming.
There was a growing volume of internal jail records that needed to be securely stored and managed by the Sheriff’s office.
An antiquated process in need of a secure solution
Before DocuWare, warrants were stored in two file cabinets in the 911 dispatch room. Dispatchers handle all police, fire and EMS for the county. In order for an active warrant to be verified, officers would have to call the dispatch center. Each dispatcher on duty gets 4-5 calls per hour that may deal with life and death situations. Warrant verification calls had the potential to disrupt this important 911 service.
The workflow for storing and reviewing case reports was inefficient. Reports were typed, printed and the paper files given to the commanding officer. Once approved, the commanding officer would send the report to the records department, where staff would spend six hours a day re-keying the reports into a law enforcement management program.
With an inmate population of 350, maintaining files of jail records was a huge burden and these files tended to pile up so that more immediate tasks were completed.
Secure digital processes lead to higher productivity
Today, warrants are scanned into DocuWare. The warrant can be verified as active and an arrest can be made immediately.
Case Reports are scanned in less than one hour. By 8:00 a.m. all case reports from the previous day are available in DocuWare.Speeding tickets are scanned and while paper copies must also be retained, retrieval is quick and painless.The jail now scans all internal booking forms and then paper documents are shredded. The digital files are easily and quickly accessible by approved personnel.
Serving the people of Porter County better
By implementing DocuWare, Porter County Sheriff’s Department gave its employees a powerful tool to help them do their jobs better and better serve the people of the county.