Contributing Author: Normel Chatmon
Records Analyst Fort Bend ISD Police Department
September is National Preparedness Month. However, for some local governments, being prepared may be challenging—especially in the records world and specifically, in ISD police department records.
So the question to all of Texas independent school district police departments: is your records management department prepared for the unexpected? I’m sure you’re asking: “should we be?” First, let’s talk about some common thoughts regarding records retention and disposition.
Records disposition is scary.
Not everyone sees records as a top priority—until something goes missing. Then it’s all eyes on you, right? We want our records department to run like a well-oiled machine. TSLAC provides tools regarding disposition to keep records departments running smoothly.
Why are retention periods for destruction such a taboo subject? There are legal risks in keeping records for longer than their retention period. Every record has a shelf life—whether it’s immediate, six months, fifty years, or archival material—it all depends on the retention period of the record.
Questions to ask yourself:
- What’s a disposition log and why should we keep one?
- Are we keeping a disposition log?
- Are we following Schedule PS (Public Safety)?
When was the last time you checked your school district’s policy to ensure that you have a copy of the PS Schedule? If you have not yet done so, access the revised 4th edition—updated in 2019—print or save the PDF to your computer, and share the schedule with the appropriate staff.
Knowledge is definitely power.
Once you know and understand the facts, there’s no reason to be afraid.
September is the perfect time to work on records topics, since it is National Preparedness Month. In addition to having a well-run, responsive, and efficient records management system in place, it is important to know that you are ready in the case of an emergency or disaster. Learn what to do from TSLAC’s webinar Disaster Recovery and Salvage of Government Records.
Take the first step at ensuring happiness across your entire department by prioritizing proper records compliance in your ISD police department.