Police records are a critical component of the law enforcement process. Case files for ongoing or closed investigations, for example, may be used in court or can help provide information if a cold case is reopened. The records supervisor ensures that information is properly stored, easily retrievable and kept secure. Records supervisors may also use the information for statistical reports, provide information in response to subpoenas, audit work processes in the department and supervise staff.
Important Skills and Characteristics
One of the most important characteristics of a records supervisor is the ability to organize an efficient recordkeeping system. The information must be easily retrievable and the supervisor must ensure that all staff are well-trained in tasks such as filing, document handling and case record retrieval. Communication skills are also vital, as the records supervisor must communicate clearly with police officers and support staff at all levels. Records supervisors should be able to make sound decisions and work independently while staying within accepted guidelines. The records supervisor should also be able to work effectively on a team and provide good customer service.
The Records System
The primary duty of a records supervisor is to ensure that all records are securely stored and readily available for whoever needs them. If the records are paper-based, the supervisor must ensure they are systematically organized and protected from fire, moisture and insect damage. Computer records must be organized logically and accessible to those who need them but secure from unauthorized access. If the system includes both types of records, the records supervisor must ensure the two systems can be cross-linked. The supervisor does not accomplish these tasks alone, so she must also ensure all staff are appropriately trained and follow procedures correctly.
Secondary Duties May Vary
Secondary tasks for a records supervisor vary according to the organization. However, typical duties include hiring, supervising and evaluating staff, and developing daily schedules and work assignments. The records supervisor is often the primary point of contact for staff such as police officers and detectives, as well as outside entities such as court clerks and lawyers or other law enforcement organizations. The records supervisor might be the person who initially responds to subpoenas or provides information to regulatory agencies or for public record requests.
Education, Experience and Certification
Qualifications for a records supervisor vary from a high school diploma to the equivalent of an associate degree. Degrees are typically in the field of law enforcement, public administration, public safety or office administration. Some organizations accept a combination of education and experience, while others specifically require an associate degree and relevant experience. In addition to records experience, most organizations prefer or require supervisory experience. Experience requirements typically vary from three to five years. Some police departments prefer or require certification in the field.
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