As you may have learned in my Building a Model Police Records Unit course, public safety agencies must have a quality control program in place to ensure their records and data are accurate. Quality control means working to produce accurate information in the first place (avoiding Garbage in Garbage Out -GIGO) and making sure you are checking the information for accuracy throughout the information life cycle.
Remember that information which contains errors (inaccurate police reports, faulty case management procedures, inaccurate personally identifiable information, bad addresses, misspellings, etc) will produce things like inaccurate crime stats (UCR/NIBRS), erroneous criminal justice information and bad criminal intelligence.
The key is to ensure officers produce thorough and accurate reports, sergeants review reports thoroughly and records personnel check them for a 2nd level review. Everyone must contribute to the goal of achieving accuracy.
Awareness – Training – Assessment – Policy – Program Development
Here are 3 steps to help develop a quality control program in your agency:
Step One: Educate and Raise Awareness
• Information Quality: The Foundation for Justice Decision Making
• 9 Elements of an Information Quality Program
Step Two: Perform an Assessment
• Information Quality Self-Assessment Tool
Step Three: Develop Policy and an Agency-wide Program
• Information Quality Program Guide
PRI Management Group specializes in and provides professional assistance with developing quality control programs, records management operations and new technology systems.