Garfield County Victim Response Team Leverages CiviCore
- January 30, 2019
When you come home to find that someone has robbed your house, it’s clear what to do: call the police.
But after the officers have done their work, after you’ve cleaned up the glass and taken inventory of what’s missing, what do you do next? How do you deal with feeling violated and unsafe in your own home?
If you’re lucky enough to live in Garfield County, Colorado, you’ll be taken care of by a team that goes above and beyond to ensure their community feels safe. A faction of the Sheriff’s Office, the Garfield County Victim Response Team supports victims of crimes and the officers who work their cases 24/7/365. For nearly 15 years, the team has been providing immediate support to victims of crimes such as domestic violence, homicide, sexual assault, and robberies. The team provides on-scene support, following up with victims after police officers have left. They also assist victims by providing legal advice, information regarding victim compensation, and referrals to resources and other agencies who might be of help. Their work has not gone unnoticed: seven of the team members have received individual service awards.
Making the Leap to Victim Services Software
For the first 4 years the team was in place, they managed all administrative tasks manually, from entering client information to keeping up with court dates. The time needed to stay on task was costly in more ways than one: because all data was entered by hand, there could be mistakes caused by human error. All data was kept in spreadsheets, which didn’t offer much in the way of client privacy and data security. Team members had to spend time entering and tracking information, which meant they were unable to spend that time serving victims in their community. Plus, keeping up with administrative tasks was so time-intensive that the team regularly had to work overtime to stay on top of things, which cost the department significantly in overtime wages.
Ten years ago, Victim Response Team Director Dr. Adam L. Ford adopted CiviCore Victim Services Software to organize and automate many of the team’s manual tasks, decreasing the team’s administrative workload so they could focus on taking care of their community. The benefits were instantaneous. With CiviCore software for victim services, overtime wages were cut in half, administrative time decreased dramatically, and the grant application process was streamlined. Plus, with less of a budget needed for the team, the department didn’t need to apply for as many grants to generate sufficient funding, thus cutting their workload even further. The team is now able to dedicate more of their time to caring for victims rather than focusing on admin.
In addition to crime scene crisis counseling, Adam ensures his team is available for criminal justice system advocacy, safety planning, emergency transportation, referrals to other agencies, and questions about the rights of Colorado crime victims. The Garfield County (GarCo) Victim Response Team covers a region of nearly 3,000 square miles, making their response times incredibly impressive: their average response time for a phone call is just eight minutes, and average on-scene response is 48 minutes.
CiviCore Victims Services software supports the team’s outstanding work as a cloud-based platform that is available on any device at any time. After an officer or member of their team gets a call, they can check the system and instantly have access to a client’s complete history. With a job that can be demanding and is often 24/7, this is essential.
Adapting Victim Service Software to Fit
Every organization manages data differently, and GarCo’s operations work best when data is organized by case. Because CiviCore victims assistance technology is flexible and enables you to tailor the system to your needs, CiviCore was able to work with Adam to customize their system to match the way they work. In GarCo’s system, information is primarily organized by case, but multiple clients or victims can be attached to each case. Their team can search the database using any of these components and find the information they need.
The Garfield County Victim Response Team can search their victim services software database using any of these components — client, case, or victim — and find the information they need.
The GarCo Victim Response Team works with multiple agencies, meaning they need to grant outside parties access to select information in their system in order to effectively serve their constituents. Using the security capabilities available with CiviCore Victim Services Software, the team can grant users access to only the information they need while keeping other data hidden, protecting the security and confidentiality of their clients.
Dr. Ford reports that one of the team’s favorite features of their victim assistance solution is the ability to configure automated email notifications tailored to their operations. They’ve scheduled weekly emails to be sent on Mondays, reminding the team of all cases that are open or under investigation and needed following up. Each day, they receive an email with the cases that are to be seen in court. On the one-year anniversary of a crime, the team also receives a notification reminding them to file the necessary reports, ensuring that they comply with legal regulations. This level of automation has saved enumerable time and manual process, and ensures adequate follow up for crucial stages in a client’s care.
In the 10 years GarCo has used CiviCore Client & Case Management Software, the system has been available more than any other support system in use by GarCo Victim Response Team. In fact, in the last 5 years, it has never been down. In addition, any time the team has questions, CiviCore staff is ready and waiting, by email or phone. Adam says of his experience, “The customer service can’t compare. We’re not just a number — we’re a person who gets a personalized response any time we need it.”
Reaching New Heights with Victim Services
Dr. Ford’s success with the GarCo Victim Response Team has enabled him to address additional needs within the Sheriff’s Office. He is now spearheading a new project as part of the Office’s Trauma Team that addresses line of duty deaths and work-related incidents. As a facet of the Blue Guardian Project, the Blue Guardian system catalogs critical information on all personnel who face danger in the line of duty, whether it is personal, financial, or planning-related. That way, when there is an incident, the Office’s Trauma Team can swiftly and accurately respond to support the deputy or employee, and is sure to follow the wishes of the employee. The CiviCore Blue Guardian system, jointly developed with Garfield County, is the first of its kind, and the system, while recently deployed, has already proven invaluable in the event of an incident.
The ability for Garfield County to rely on innovative technology such as CiviCore Victim Services and CiviCore Blue Guardian Portal has brought immeasurable benefit to both the citizens of Garfield County and its employees. CiviCore values deeply the impact Garfield County has on its area citizens, is proud to be a part of this innovation. We look forward to continuing to work with Dr. Ford and Sheriff Vallario’s team to ensure the highest level of service.