Seattle digitizes crime records

Seattle Police Department officials will finally start ridding themselves of the mountains of paper they have to deal with in their current crime records system when they begin moving to an automated electronic system this summer.

They chose a records management system from ABM America that assistant police chief Jim Pugel said will give officers access to more information than they have now. It will "improve the resolution rate of criminal investigations, increase convictions [and] assist in the reduction of crime," he said.

ABM is providing four products that will eventually constitute an integrated system.

Its Web-based Records Management System is a suite of applications that automates activities such as process control, which ensures that all users follow required processes and procedures, and allows managers to monitor the workload and performance of individual officers or entire departments.

All of the data collected by the system is fully searchable. The tool can also flag particular information associated with certain data.

The system also comes with analysis and visualization tools that make it easier to establish links between events and other information; those links can be plotted using standard geographic information system tools.

ABM is also providing PIMS, for managing contacts with confidential informants; Prophecy, for identifying current and future incident patterns; and Prochart, which offers automated charting capabilities.

PIMS, PROphecy and PROChart are expected to be up and running sometime this summer, with the Records Management System due to go live in the fall of 2005.

ABM is also working on a $7.3 million contract to provide its system to the Pennsylvania State Police. The deal was announced last year as part of program headed by Lockheed Martin Corp. to overhaul the department's information technology infrastructure.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at


"Biometrics reduces case backlog" [Federal Computer Week, April 5, 2004]

"State police 'revolutionize' records" [, March 12, 2003]

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.


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