Solutions

Consider the Evidence

Santa Clara Police Department

A scrap of cloth, a bit of wood, an empty bottle, a loaded gun. They're the bits and pieces of evidence from which police investigators construct a case. And this evidence needs to be kept safe, kept categorized, kept accessible. In Santa Clara, California, the Santa Clara Police Department meets this challenge with FileMaker Pro, the award-winning database software application from FileMaker Inc.

Overview

  • The Santa Clara Police Department in Santa Clara, California, keeps its evidence in line with FileMaker Pro. Each piece of evidence is entered into FileMaker Pro via a handheld organizer, and the system then generates a barcode that is placed on each item for easy tracking.

Industry

  • Government

Using FileMaker in conjunction with the hand-held device means that we don't have to worry about the device itself becoming obsolete because we aren't using software designed for a specific device.

— Roger Luebkeman, Lieutenant, Santa Clara Police Department

Business Challenge

A scrap of cloth, a bit of wood, an empty bottle, a loaded gun. They're the bits and pieces of evidence from which police investigators construct a case. And this evidence needs to be kept safe, kept categorized, kept accessible. In Santa Clara, California, the Santa Clara Police Department meets this challenge with FileMaker Pro, the award–winning database software application from FileMaker Inc.

Successful Solution

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.

— Roger Luebkeman, Lieutenant, Santa Clara Police Department

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.'

Customer Benefits

The FileMaker Pro application is a valuable tool for the department today — and it will be equally valuable in the future. 'Using FileMaker in conjunction with the hand-held device means that we don't have to worry about the device itself becoming obsolete,' observes Lieutenant Luebkeman, 'because we aren't using software designed for a specific device. If we had gone out and spent a lot of money developing for a particular device — and then turned around to find that device had been discontinued, well, we'd be stuck! But with our FileMaker Pro system, as long as there's a hand-held unit that can access the Web, our FileMaker system will work.'

For the Santa Clara Police Department, the evidence is in. And FileMaker Pro is keeping track of it.

For FileMaker:

Kevin Mallon
Public Relations Manager
FileMaker Inc.
408-987-7227
kevin_mallon@filemaker.com
http://www.filemaker.com

For Santa Clara Police Department:

Roger Luebkeman
Lieutenant
Santa Clara Police Department
408-615-4886
rluebkeman@ci.santa-clara.ca.us