Tomball Police Department

Tomball PD Eliminates Paper Records and Drastically Reduces the Time Spent Gathering Records

Tomball Police Department Police Logo

 

About the Customer

The Tomball, TX, Police Department (Tomball PD) is a single-station department with around 70 personnel and serves a residential population of approximately 11,000.

 

Background

In 2009, most of Tomball PD’s records were on paper and locked up in filing cabinets. Pulling comprehensive records was a challenge, and it took many hours of work to track everything down. Even then, the records weren’t guaranteed to be complete.

Compounding the problem, the department receives regular requests for records that it must address. Whenever someone decides they want to sue a police officer, a report of that officer’s personnel file must be provided. And when you have police officers making arrests, it is inevitable that someone will sue them.

Preparing such files on an employee can be a tremendous burden for departments. Large metropolitan agencies like LAPD and Houston PD have entire divisions dedicated to handling such requests, and while the volume of requests is nowhere near that magnitude, Tomball PD still encounters such requests regularly.

 

Opportunity

The Tomball PD chief at the time wanted to transform how the department handled personnel records. The chief had come from LAPD, which had a system for logging positive feedback, but Tomball PD didn’t have such a system and wasn’t thriving like it could.

In 2009, the chief was introduced to the Acadis Early Intervention System (then Guardian Tracking) and could immediately see the potential.

“He came back and started talking about how we can start using this and become totally paperless on our end on all of our employee files,” said Fagg.

 

Goals

The chief’s goals for the early intervention system included the following:

  • Reduce physical paperwork and centralize records
  • Streamline the response to record requests
  • Establish a culture of consistent positive recognition
  • Increase accessibility and transparency of personnel files

 

Solution Deployed

To accomplish these goals, Tomball PD quickly rolled out the system and converted its paper personnel files to digital records in the system.

While the officers were generally hesitant to learn something new, it quickly became apparent that this system was more user-friendly than what they had been doing previously and that having all records in a single location would save a tremendous amount of time and headaches.

The focus on positive recognition also went a long way in the adoption of the system. Not only do Tomball PD supervisors now include highlights in an officer’s file (which are easily accessible come time for annual reviews), but the system also enabled peers to submit positive feedback

The department even has an online form for public compliments, and those compliments get added to personnel records in Acadis EIS. With the police department’s noticeable gains in morale and efficiency, the Tomball Fire Department and the city itself also joined the system not long after.

 

The Result

More than a decade later, the police department has grown to 100 users in Acadis EIS—with an additional 80 fire department users and 150 City of Tomball users. The ability to address open record requests has also dramatically improved since the days of paper files.

Citizens can submit a public record request through the city’s online portal, JustFOIA, and the police department can compile and send the report that same day. As both the department and community have continued to grow, it’s clear that there is no going back to paper processes.

“I don’t know where’d we’d even keep all of the records if they were on paper. Or how we’d gather the information from everybody,” said Fagg.

Tragically, the chief who began this journey passed away, but his legacy of efficient processes, positive recognition, and always celebrating successes lives on.