Case Management: Internal Investigations
The responsibility of the City of Pittsburgh’s Office of Municipal Investigations (OMI) is to follow up on allegations of misconduct by City employees. Most, but not all, of the citizen complaints investigated by OMI involve the actions of police officers.
By City policy, each complaint that comes into OMI will be logged, investigated, and acted upon within 120 days. OMI’s report on the complaint is then conveyed to the City department where the employee works (example: the Police Bureau in the case of allegations against a police officer).
The Police Bureau or other department must take action on the OMI report within 120 days. OMI receives a report about the action taken, and files that information with its report on the case. If OMI finds that the allegations of misconduct are credible, and that the misconduct may have included criminal actions, OMI’s report is also conveyed to the Allegheny County District Attorney for a possible criminal investigation.
Developing a New System
In 2008, OMI determined that it had a need for a new Case Management System, and contracted with B–Three Solutions to handle the project under a fixed–fee contract.
Beginning with system requirements assembled by OMI, B–Three created a design specification and an implementation plan. After approval by OMI, the application was developed (in .NET, with an Oracle database), tested, and installed. Before the case management system was put into production, the user manual was distributed and “train–the–trainer” instruction was completed.
The system manages OMI’s case load, processing each case from the initial complaint, through all the necessary investigative actions, to the approval of the case report and the eventual closing and archiving of the case.
Important capabilities of the system include:
- Accept new cases/complaints through an intelligent form, with lists of standard values available for most of the fields.
- Assign/reassign cases in a real-time manner.
- Enable investigators to view a “My Cases” screen, listing their open cases and the status of each.
- Display date-related requirements, easily allowing investigators and management to see when a case is overdue or a deadline is approaching, such as the end of the 120-day period in which to take action against the accused.
- Generate alerts to investigators and supervisors concerning case related deadlines.
- Enable investigative forms to be filled out and auto-propagate data to these forms from corresponding information already entered about the case.
- Enable the uploading of Word documents or other files that are created by OMI staff.
- Store documents, pictures, and audio/video files with a case.
- Connect to other City systems to pull personnel, geographical, and other information, and to publish case status information to systems that require it.
- Enable OMI Management to review all cases in the system and produce various administrative reports.
- Automate the routing and approval process of an OMI case as it moves from step to step.
For OMI personnel, the transition to the new case management system went smoothly, primarily because the basic steps in handling a case did not change. The new system streamlines data entry and strengthens OMI’s ability to track and manage each case.