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Records Management in the 1990's

NCJ Number
D L Arkenau
Date Published
18 pages
A computer-assisted data retrieval system using an optical disk has enabled the Cincinnati, Ohio Police Department to eliminate the major backlog of police records that needed processing in 1988.
Traffic accident reports were a major component of the backlog. The department had been using a paper filing system based on logbooks and index cards to track accident reports. Hundreds of new reports and retrieval requests came in each day, resulting in delays of 6 weeks or more in fulfilling requests for copies. Pressure from insurance companies, city council members, and private citizens led to consideration of alternative methods for managing the files. The department began using the optical disk system in March 1989. It eliminated the backlog in 4 weeks. The system provides a readily available index of all the basic information about an accident. It has several advantages over microfilm, including the capacity of each disk, instant image recovery, document security, and complete on-line access to all images on file. Images stored on optical disk are also admissible legal evidence in Ohio. The system has greatly increased productivity, eliminated complaints regarding delays, and received positive responses from all concerned. Photographs, appended excerpt from Ohio law, and list of types of data reported.


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