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Arresting the paper flow

The UCF Police Department has gone from old-school to high-tech, moving records management from paper to digital, and instilling consistency, security, and order.
University Business, July 2013

The University of Central Florida (UCF) Police Department, located on the university’s main campus in Orlando, has 61 sworn and 36 civilian personnel tasked with maintaining campus safety and security. It’s Carla Markx’s job to manage all the records, reports, and evidence flowing through the department. Markx, coordinator, statistical research, records/property & evidence manager for the department, doesn’t tackle this chore alone. She’s assisted by four employees in the Records Division and one in the Property and Evidence Division.

These two divisions handle enormous amounts of material. The Records Division processes all law enforcement-generated reports and evidence records. It also provides fingerprinting and notary services, processes public-record requests as well as documents for destruction, and does subpoena intake. Evidence submitted for law enforcement-related cases, as well as found property, is processed by the Property and Evidence Division.

Until 2006, documents were managed in hardcopy format and on microfiche, and were stored in cabinets. When other divisions within the department needed a document or record, a hardcopy was made and sent. Redactions were made by whiting them out or using a Sharpie. This method of document storage, retrieval, sharing and redaction chewed up time, space, and resources and was not always completely secure.

Wanting to make their processes more efficient, to more easily share documents across divisions, and move away from old-school redaction techniques, the department began looking for a software program that allowed for the digital storage of documents, says Markx.

“They ultimately chose Laserfiche because it is DoD-compliant, it has redaction capabilities, it allows for use of active directory credentials, and it uses a SQL database,” she says.

Now, all of the Records Division staff use the Laserfiche Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution to securely manage document storage/retrieval and redaction, and for sending electronic copies of records. Other divisions within the department also use Laserfiche, including Procurement, Special Events, Professional Standards and Internal Affairs, Training, Human Resources, and Victim Services.

Utilizing the Laserfiche ECM has given them consistency across each division in record processing, says Markx. The tool has freed up a “tremendous amount of storage space,” and has made redaction “a breeze.” She also values the ability to highlight, stamp, and include notes on electronic records.

Markx says the department plans to expand its use of this records management tool, having recently purchased Laserfiche 9.0. In addition to deploying this upgrade for retention and destruction purposes, they also have provided additional licensure access to their Criminal Investigation Division (CID) with the intent of moving toward a more paperless system.

“We will soon develop a workflow for alerting CID personnel of new case files or documents added to the system without having to print out a hardcopy,” Markx says. “We are very pleased with the benefits Laserfiche has offered our department.”