March 4, 2017

Taking Hours and Days to Minutes and Seconds

The “City of Glendale” story Customer/Application Company Background Glendale, California, the Jewel City, is a suburb of Los Angeles popularly known for being the birthplace of both the Bob’s Big Boy hamburger chain and the Baskin-Robbins “31 Flavors” ice cream parlor chain and currently the headquarters for IHOP. Its Police Department oversees 23 square miles … Continue reading “Taking Hours and Days to Minutes and Seconds”

The “City of Glendale” story

Customer/Application Company Background

Glendale, California, the Jewel City, is a suburb of Los Angeles popularly known for being the birthplace of both the Bob’s Big Boy hamburger chain and the Baskin-Robbins “31 Flavors” ice cream parlor chain and currently the headquarters for IHOP. Its Police Department oversees 23 square miles and assures the public safety of Glendale’s almost 210,000 residents. It comprises four divisions: Investigative, Field, Support, and Administrative Services. Administrative Services includes the Records Bureau which is responsible for managing case files. A case file, created when a crime has been reported, is assembled as incremental documents arrive. Each case file is comprised of documents in disparate formats such as police reports, finger print files, witness statements, lists and photos from crime scene investigators, DNA records and possibly court dockets, jail bookings and arrest records. It will have scanned documents and electronic source documents. As the investigation process proceeds, case file documents need to be reviewed and studied by various departments involved with the case. Some departments that may be involved are Probation, the District Attorney’s office, the Clerks of Courts, and various Investigative Officers. Case files also need to be sent to the defense attorneys associated with each case. Most agencies are within the city government; but, on occasion, outside agencies such as CHP, Family Services / Child Services, or even the FBI may be involved.

Problem/Challenge

Whenever new content is added to a case file, the Records Bureau is required to distribute a marked copy of the updated case file to each of the departments and agencies involved with the investigation and/or case management of the individuals associated with the crime. An especially burdensome requirement is that each copy must carry the unique watermark of the receiving party. In the past, the frequency of changes, and the large number of departments and agencies created a clerical burden for the Bureau’s staff. Each case file can go to a dozen or more departments and agencies and run to a hundred or more pages, each of which previously were being hand stamped. Investigative support service is required on a 24/7 basis which meant that clerical staff had to be maintained on all three shifts further adding to the city’s costs.

Description of the Application or “The Solution”

Originally, the process had been a manual process involving scanning and printing case documents on several Ricoh Aficio color printers followed by manually copying, collating and hand stamping case packets. The process was excessively time consuming and required maintaining high levels of staffing on all three shifts to meet the timeliness requirements of the courts for getting the case files to the parties involved. Crawford Technologies Riptide was deployed automating the distribution and output management of case files stored in the IBM ECM repository. Seamlessly integrated with the case management application, Riptide provided a number of value-added functions including the automation of identifying case packets with watermarks, automation of printing case packets copies and the assembly of case packets from case content stored in the ECM repository. All of which added to the reduction in costly user mistakes and reducing time consuming manual tasks.

The process starts when an automated email is sent to the Records Bureau informing them new content has been added to a case file. The Records Bureau agent accesses their case system and using search templates keyed off the case number, documents in the case file are automatically retrieved. Using the Riptide plugin to ECM, the Records Bureau agent simply selects ‘Riptide’ as the output for the retrieved documents. After selecting ‘Riptide’, a custom screen presents the document list. Here the agent is able to re-order the documents, select the number of copies and, for each copy, select the target output and required watermark from a pull-down menu. Riptide automates the rest of the output management process. The deployment of the CrawfordTech Riptide automated process not only saves time; it also provides error tracking, logging and a record of case files contents sent.

Results of the Solution

In the words of the Glendale city government project manager “the Riptide solution made all the difference, changing ‘days and hours’ of work into ‘minutes and seconds’” as the tasks of copying, collation, and hand stamping were eliminated. One of the key results was that staff were able to be reallocated to more productive tasks.
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