EUREKA- The Eureka Police Department has been using the same records management system since 1993, but that’s about to change.
Under the current EPD Records Management System, it can sometimes take officers a week or more to get their reports into the database.
"They write the header, come back, type the body of the report, just in a word document, staple the two together, hand it to a sergeant for approval, the sergeant gives it back with corrections, then they hand walk it over to records division where they type that into two different computer systems, and then pull it out, photocopy it, and then store it in a file," said Police Chief Andrew Mills.
Police Chief Mills says the system must be updated.
"If you're doing that, you're not seeing what's going on around you out in the field. I mean you're not suppressing crime sitting here in the station typing a report," Chief Mills said.
The Eureka City Council recently approved the purchase of a new SunGard Records Management System, which officials say will cut down the time officers spend getting reports into the database. The system will be fully implemented within a year.
“You'll type the report in the patrol car on a laptop computer and send it right into the records management system, so you have the entire report, including all the data in that report, already stored, skipping five different steps,” said Chief Mills.
Officials say the quicker process will save the city money.
“Rather than doing direct entry into the records management system by police officers and/or clerical personnel, it'll now be a seamless, paperless system that's tied from the cars all the way to the records management database. So it's just one electronic system where the information gets entered directly in the cars and goes into the records management system, saving the cost of all the personnel having to do the input,” Chief Mills said.
Police also say the community will benefit from the new system as well.
“Now, you'll also be able to download your accident reports right off of the electronic system, rather than having to come here to the police department and take the times on certain day… You’ll also be able to map everything we have, so you can pull up your neighborhood, take a look at that map and understand what's going on and what time of day," said Chief Mills.
The more than $500,000 upgrade is funded through grant money and money from drug seizures among other sources. However, the $47,000 of yearly maintenance required will be funded through the general fund.