Officers, who aren't accustomed to computers, find the FileMaker database program crisply professional and easy to use. Lt. Luebkeman, who isn't a programmer, actually wrote the database in less than 50 hours using the standard templates included in FileMaker Pro.
"Whenever somebody sees it, they're very impressed," said Luebkeman. "The buttons and colored screens give it a good look, and highlighted data makes working on the screen easier. It looks like a professional program, when in fact I did the whole thing by myself."
It's so much easier to identify and track the cars this way. Since there's so much less paperwork, it's freed up our officers to go out and actively look for abandoned cars, as well as handle other more pressing law enforcement duties. And that's the whole point.
Now, at the end of the quarter, instead of wading through the manila folders for days of checking and backtracking, the department just presses a button, and a two–page report is automatically generated.
"The auditing was costing the county $3,000 a year, which reduced revenue for individual cities," Luebkeman said. "The audit won't be needed any more. And we're more accurate. Each vehicle is worth about $100 in state funds. Other agencies were losing up to 10 percent of their claims, because of inadequate documentation. We didn't lose a single one."
Using the database, the city collected more than $148,000 in abandoned vehicle funds from the state this year — $76,000 more than previous years.
The department's next goal is to introduce the FileMaker Abandoned Vehicle Database Tracking System state–wide. Even though it will give competing police departments the same advantage Santa Clara currently has in getting abandoned vehicle funds, Roger Luebkeman think's it's worthwhile.
"It's so much easier to identify and track the cars this way," Lt. Luebkeman said. "Since there's so much less paperwork, it's freed up our officers to go out and actively look for abandoned cars, as well as handle other more pressing law enforcement duties. And that's the whole point."