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Reporting laws like the Clery Act pressure law enforcement agencies to ramp up their documentation efforts. In the case of the Clery Act, security and police officials serving institutions of higher education must be prepared to release an annual report detailing criminal activity on and near campus. The goal is to keep students informed of potential threats. However, this process does pose a few key challenges, including:

  • Gathering large amounts of information from diverse data sources.
  • Getting relevant reports from other law enforcement agencies in the community.
  • Protecting personal privacy while making information available to the public.

These issues create an environment in which agencies must comb through documents to identify key information from the year and compile it into a single large report. This chore can be simplified if you create policies that encourage ongoing data compilation throughout the year. Five key policy management tactics to consider in response to the Clery Act include:

1. Attach meta data to each report
Meta data can make it easier to search for reports, identify key information quickly and sort different types of cases. If you attach specific meta data to each document that will impact your Clery Act reporting, you will be able to quickly pin down the information you need to work with and move forward from there. Creating policies that set forth what meta data should go with crime reports is essential.

2. Set clear privacy standards
Concise, straightforward policies about what information can be included in Clery Act reports and what must be avoided will make it easier for your agency to stay on top of ongoing data collection.

Clear privacy policies play a vital role in Clery Act reporting.
Clear privacy policies play a vital role in Clery Act reporting.

3. Share policies with partners
Document management software can help you easily share policies with local law enforcement agencies to collaborate about what standards can be kept common across organizational boundaries. This teamwork can ensure that any Clery Act-related reporting is done the same way during the year, making it easier to compile data when the time comes to create a single large report.

4. Get officers involved
Creating top-down policies that officers need to follow can be efficient, but it can also leave your staff frustrated if practices don’t fit well with their day-to-day routine. Get officers involved in your Clery Act reporting policy creation to ensure that they’ll be able to keep up with the requirements you create.

5. Ensure processes are easily repeatable
Using policies to establish best practices can drive home the importance of Clery Act reporting. However, you must make sure that any requirements are easy for officers to maintain on a day-to-day basis. If tasks get too onerous, they will start to slip to the background and policy compliance can deteriorate.

Simplifying Clery Act documentation through policies can go a long way to avoiding problems when compiling reports.