Records are a vital element in any type of business. A variety of records are created in government offices and private organizations and maintaining a smooth workflow depends on proper record management – classifying organizing, and maintaining the documents. The recent report on the premature release of 22 criminal suspects from a county jail due to hitches in the Dallas police department’s new record keeping software indicates just how important it is to have a proper information management system in place.
The Dallas police department switched from its decades-old mainframe system for managing documents to the new software on June 1. The new system is aimed at:
- Improving case tracking within the department by putting all files in one place electronically
- Creating a broader intelligence database of cases
- Providing officers with a new set of options when filing their reports
- Improving reports review methods
The new system is designed to put all case files in one place and eventually allow smooth electronic transfers to prosecutors. It is expected that the issues will iron out once the officers get used to the new system.
Reason for Premature Release of Inmates
Usually, when a suspect is arrested, the officers send the case to a detective who then prepares to file it with the county. Three inmates walked free early June because the detectives failed to file cases on them within the required 72-hour period after the arrests. This happened because the new system caused delays that prevented the detectives from seeing the cases after the arrests were made.
Dallas police department officers report that the new system, with new options for entering data and filing records, has ‘user error’ which needs to be resolved. Though the changes haven’t allowed any violent criminals to go free, officers are now being retrained to use the new system properly.
Records management programs must manage organizational information so that it is timely, accurate, complete, cost-effective, accessible and useable. Better information, at the right time, makes better business.
Records Management is Vital for Any Business
Though records management is not usually an entity’s primary business, it is vital to have a proper system in place to organize and track the files that build up on a daily basis. Proper management of business information prevents duplication of records, reduces operating costs, saves storage space, and improves efficiency and productivity by saving time spent on searching for records. Good records management programs also ensures regulatory compliance and safeguards vital information. As records constitute the background data for future management decisions and planning, managing them well is crucial for better decision making.