FileMaker is used throughout the Santa Clara Police Department for a wide range of recordkeeping purposes. But it's the evidence–tracking system that puts the department on the cutting edge of finding new ways to use the software. Described by Lieutenant Roger Luebkeman, the system is built around a palm–type device manufactured by Symbol Technologies, which interfaces with the department's FileMaker Pro servers by means of a 2.4 gHz radio link.
Equipped with this easy–to–use hand–help unit, the department's property clerk is able to enter complete documentation for every item of evidence as it comes in — entering the necessary details into a master database, and then printing out a bar–code label which is attached to the evidence container. Once this label is in place, a quick scan of the code instantly brings up the relevant record — specifying what the item is, what case it belongs to, where it was collected and by whom, and also generates a complete history of how the item has been handled since it was brought in.
It's very simple to build databases in FileMaker Pro. I've been doing it for four years now, and while it's very simple to use, it produces a very professional–looking result. The web features enable you to create easy–to–use web–accessible databases and you're up and running.
Every scan is automatically logged, ensuring that this history remains up to date, and ensuring that the evidence can be tracked should it be called into question at any time. 'We're able to track information better and use it more efficiently,' explains Lieutenant Luebkeman. 'Our whole departmentcan access the information they need right from their desktops.'
Evidence files are also kept up to date. FileMaker Pro makes it easy to determine what evidence is current — and what can be discarded. Use of the tracking system allows the department to clea out materials held in its evidence warehouse, making it that much easier to efficiently store and track the items that remain.
Lieutenant Luebkeman himself has taken charge of designing the database applications for the department. 'It's very simple to build databases in FileMaker Pro,' he explains. 'I've been doing it for four years now, and while it's very simple to use, it produces a very professional–looking result. The web features enable you to create easy–to–use web–accessible databases and you're up and running.'