IBR Helps Agencies Paint Bigger Picture

August 17, 2020 by Kate Nadolski

IBR Helps Agencies Paint Bigger Picture

An accurate reporting system is vital when it comes to collecting data, identifying trends, and making changes to law enforcement so they can better protect their communities.

In the state of Kansas, all law enforcement agencies are required to follow Incident Based Reporting (IBR) standards. This means agencies must adhere to reporting all crimes a perpetrator commits and submitting them electronically to the state.

In the beginning, the Ottawa Kansas Police Department had trouble submitting this data. Department Police Chief Adam Weingartner said they had to constantly go back and fix errors.

“The errors really started building up over the years, and it was just too labor intensive for the end user,” said Weingartner.

In 2015, the department made the switch to a user-friendly records management system. Weingartner said this system improved his department's ability to report crimes and comply with the state's mandatory IBR requirements.

“The end user experience is very easy, and there’s a business flow about it when you complete a report that makes it very easy to use and collects all of the data that you need,” explained Weingartner.

Weingartner explained, the way the system is designed prevents officers from unknowingly making mistakes in their reporting.

“I believe this system makes reporting up IBR very easy,” said Weingartner. “When you incorrectly check a box, you get an IBR reporting error. Because the system lets users know exactly what they’re doing –even if it’s incorrect - you can just double click on the mistake, correct it, and it automatically sends it through.”

Weingartner explains how color codes help the officers stay on track, even in distracting situations.

“The officers enter the information in the system and prior to hitting that submit button for approval, there’s a green light or red light on the IBR tab,” said Weingartner. “Green light means the report meets submission criteria and is ready to go, but the red light means there is an error that needs to be corrected. We have a three-step approval process that’s all done electronically and is then sent to our records office for submission.”

The streamlined process is helping officers collect the proper data and submit it while the safety-net features of the system are ensuring the data that’s being submitted is accurate.

According to Weingartner, the importance of properly collecting and submitting data is not lost on him or his department.

“The importance lies in the ability to get a true crime snapshot for your community,” said Weingartner. “With IBR data, communities are really going to see the overall number of offenses that occur within a given crime, and that’s extremely important for people to know.”

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