We had the pleasure of interviewing Lauren Meaux, Victoria Police Department’s records supervisor, about the conversion project for their microfilm records, totaling 1,375,000 images! With more than 550 rolls of 16MM microfilm to search through, they needed a better way to find and print records. See what she had to share.
About the City of Victoria, TX
There are 126 licensed officers and 40 civilians that work for our department. We are a very busy city and there is a lot of thru traffic because of the major cities that surround our area. The current population is 65,000, and our daytime traffic is 100,000! We are called the ‘crossroad’ because of the amount of traffic we see in a day.
What were the issues that you were facing?
The microfilm records to retain and keep up with became too much to handle because of the high amount of traffic we deal with each day. Scrolling image by image to find a record, and only having the capability to print one page at a time was incredibly time-consuming and took our staff away from more important issues. Some reports could take hours to print. Now that it’s digital, we can select a page range of records and print easily. If the records were typed, the digitization process applied optical character recognition (OCR) and it made it very easy to search for records now with a quick search in our Laserfiche repository. Retention periods are different for each classification. For some records, we retain indefinitely because we have the storage capacity within Laserfiche. The retention schedules can range from five years to infinity!
Why did you choose MCCi to convert your microfilm?
I reached out to our IT Department, they had a good experience with MCCi previously, and I trusted their direction. They accomplished plenty of conversions prior to my taking this position, and we have another project commencing shortly too!
How long did the projects take to complete?
Once we dove into the reels, we did a large amount in April and tested and measured to work out any kinks and we did another round in May. The mailing part of it was super convenient. Your team came and picked up the boxes. It was a huge time saver for us, and the team handling the bulk of the heavy lifting was great. That meant that we did not have to carry the boxes or pack them in our cars to take them to the post office to mail.
How many more rolls of film do you have to convert?
We just sent another 60 to complete our contract. We have a substantial amount to still convert, approximately 500 reels. Our priorities were the ones that we tap into once or twice a week. The rest we may need access to once or twice a year.
What have you been able to accomplish by digitizing records?
Time savings and ease of access. Our response to our requests is much faster. Our microfilm was locked up in our records division. Now, when dispatch needs the records, they can access it from their office. Our detectives that work cold cases now have access at their desk, and they no longer have to wait for our department to be available to unlock these records. They also don’t have to waste two to three hours of their day coming to our office to accomplish what they need.
What was it like working with our team to accomplish this project?
Everybody was super helpful, we had a conference call to walk through the entire process. The documents we have are very old and they did everything they could to enhance the images to make them legible and print friendly.