So... I've been involved in multiple conversations lately with several of our wonderful officers regarding the Blotter and how we post on it. Through a fair bit of discussion between myself and Hendrich, the following order was put out as a notice to the group and posted on the departmental notices thread in this forum:
@Hendrich Andel wrote:
To: All Officers and Civilian Staff
From: Hendrich Andel, Captain
Date: Thursday, February 17, 2011
Subject: HPD Order #003-11: Files on the HPD Record System
Effective February, 17, 2011, When utilizing the Hathian Police Department Record System also known as the "police blotter", All reports must be labeled using the following format:
For Reports which the suspect has been identified: "Criminal File -
For Reports which the victim has been identified: "Victim File -
If the suspect and victim have both been identified in the report, the report must be copied in two separate files for both the suspect and victim.
Example: If an officer writes any reports where John Dick attacked Jane Dick. The officer must put copies of all the reports under the file labeled "Criminal File - John Dick" and "Victim File - Jane Dick". If no file exists, the officer must create a file using the label "Criminal File - John Dick" and "Victim File - Jane Dick"
For reports with more than one suspect and/or victim, copies must be put in files with each individual's name labeled.
Example: If an officer creates any reports where Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck break in and rob Minnie Mouse's home, the officer must put copies of the all reports under the files labeled "Criminal File - Mickey Mouse", "Criminal File - Donald Duck", and "Victim File - Minnie Mouse". If no file exists, the officer must create the file using the above mentioned label format.
If neither a suspect nor victim have been identified, the reports must go under the generic file name "Criminal File - John Doe" or "Victim File - John Doe". All reports with no identifiable suspect and victim are to go under these two files. If the suspect and/or victim are identified during later investigation, another report must be written and placed into the proper file using the above mentioned format. Any reports that fail to satifsy this order will be removed from the record system and sent back to the reporting officer where they must make the proper corrections. This order applies to all future investigation files, incident reports, arrest reports, evidence reports, and interview reports **ORDER EFFECTIVE 2/17/11**
Hathian Police Department
Since that time, I've been included in still more conversations about the Blotter and a few things came to light during these conversations that I either didn't know, or knew way back when and just forgot about. For our newer officers, and those that might have forgotten:
1) The Blotter is Partially OOC
Though we may post our reports on the Blotter, it's a tool for us to use in an OOC capacity as much as an IC capacity. I assemble my reports in a notecard in game after each incident, so my reports are formulated in an IC fashion, however we do need to include OOC information for the benefit of our co-workers and ourselves. If we have "Suspect: Unknown" and somewhere down the road get new information, we may not remember who that suspect is supposed to be. Likewise if we have "Suspect: Lois Einhorn" lacking the (Ray Finkle) in bracket, we wont know how to find the suspect if the Character and SL names don't match up.
2) Not only cops read the Blotter
Though some of us realize this fact, we can't tailor our reports to suit the populace of Hathian. I've done something similar in the past, myself. In that I had reports in my NCs that I didn't post to ensure that the suspect I was after didn't read the blotter and get fore-knowledge that I was onto them. Unfortunately, Hathian also needs to realize that we can't change our reports to fit them. If they want us to suspect someone in particular and not someone else, guide our suspicions with the answers to our questions. If you say your suspect is 7feet with black skin and a 3rd nipple, and the only person you know of that's 7feet, black with a 3rd nipple is your cousin-6 times removed on your mother's side... that person will become our primary suspect.
This coincides with #1, as well, because we are supposed to talk to our suspects OOCly to arrange for them to be caught. Personally, I try to avoid this so I'm not falling into a pattern of scripted RP, but if it's a long-standing case file that needs resolution, OOC pre-planning is sometimes necessary.
3) Not all change is good
The new means of posting copies of reports to multiple threads has inadvertantly made Geoffrey's job of tracking all the open case-files about 3 times as difficult as it was before.
The suggestion came up of using the old old posting method on the Blotter that we used to use back when I first started at the HPD 2 years ago (*cries*). Which is to say, simply posting 1 thread for each incident, regardless of victim or suspect.
Now, I'm not suggesting we need to revamp everything again, but I have been trying to rack my brains for a way to keep the Blotter organized while simultaneously not bending Geoffrey over in his task of sorting out what's ongoing and what's resolved.
I've opened up this thread to see if anyone else has a brilliant idea to help cut down on:
1) Loose incident reports that get posted and forgotten about
2) Duplicate reports (which is why the Criminal files came out in the first place if I remember right)
My immediate thought is to sort it like I do my NC inventory, but I can't add subforums and move posts, and neither can you guys, so I doubt that would work. I'll post the idea anyway to see what you all think about it, and maybe Nadir could throw out a sub forum for us.
Main Forum: Police Blotter
Sub Forum: Closed Cases (Locked)
Sub Forum: Cold Cases
The idea would include posting incidents individually, and having all pertaining information about that incident in that thread. Once the investigation is complete, or abandoned, the thread is moved to the Cold or Closed cases forum. Closed Cases would be a locked archive. Cold Cases would be able to receive new posts *IF* new evidence came up about a particular case.
This method would leave the main Police Blotter free for clutter, and showing only active case files. This method, however, also would require a forum moderator to move the posts. At the least, this might get a few ideas rolling. This is all, of course, only until the new system Nadir is putting together gets completed.