The Light at the End of the Tunnel

How many of you have a records room (or filing cabinet) that’s overflowing?  Have you held off on destroying the records you’re pretty sure are obsolete because you don’t know if your retention schedule will let you?  Or have you simply not had the time to attend to your records in addition to your regular duties?

Last September, after attending one of our workshops at High Point, the staff at the City of Reidsville Police Department had some extensive questions about scanning, destruction of records, and the retention of records past the period designated in the retention schedule.  After some further discussion, they requested a site visit so that some of our Records Analysts could see their records room in person and advise on the correct course of action for the records housed there, many of which had been in storage for decades.

One site visit is not enough to cover an entire records room, unfortunately, unless it’s a very small records room.  Over the subsequent 10 months–in addition to their regular duties–the Reidsville Police staff have worked hard to categorize the room’s records, as well as their current files, under the 2012 Municipal Schedule, and determine what records are eligible for destruction and how to store the records that still need to be kept.  They also haven’t hesitated to use the assistance that the Government Records Section provides under G.S. 121-5(c): they’ve been in regular touch with us through email and phone throughout this project, and asked us to come out for another visit in February.

And the results of all this hard work? Shredding truck arriving at Reidsville Police Department

The contracted shredder arrived to destroy the records that were past their retention period at the end of July!

Here are a few additional photos showing some of the records that were destroyed:

Reidsville Police standing in the shredding truck with records past their retentionMember of Reidsville Police with records ready for destruction

Reidsville Police is also using the momentum from this project to establish a Records Division, which will help current officers and staff be more consistent in creation, storage, and retrieval of its records.

Managing any previously unmanaged records in your agency’s office can be a daunting task, especially if it’s been years since anyone’s looked at the records in any detail.  It’s also a lot of hard work, as this example attests.  But hard work pays off, and the Government Records Section is here to help you every step of the way.

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