In search of case management

So one of the resolutions for the new year was to keep better track of what I’m doing. I don’t understand it, but I can’t escape my need to document. I should have been a journalist because I just want to record everything — images, sounds, words, and every little move I make. Ok not every move, but after a year of being a PD I’ve learned the value of having good notes, both to cover your ass if the need arises, ((I did tell him about that 10-year mandatory minimum before he entered his guilty plea, didn’t I? Didn’t I? Yikes!)) and so you can jump in and out of 100 different cases at will without losing a step on any one of them.

The problem is, I can’t figure out how to keep track of what I’m doing on all these cases in a meaningful and still manageable way. Our technology people decided to invest gazillions of dollars ((I exaggerate, but I know it was a lot and way way way too much, considering the total budget of the PD’s office)) in the latest and supposedly greatest version of Justware Defender. Huge mistake. It’s a worthless, bloated, glacially slow kitchen sink of features. Trying to do too much, it does absolutely nothing well. ((Oh wait, it’s built on Microsoft “.NET” technology. No wonder it sucks!))

So here’s what I need: I need a very lightweight database that runs on Windows that I can customize to allow me to enter a string of notes all day long, associate those notes with names, and have each note tagged with a date and time. I need to be able to arrange the data in chronological order so if I want to go back and see everything I did on a given day, I can do that. Just as important, I need to be able to narrow my view to just one client so I can quickly and easily see all the notes I’ve taken/interactions I’ve had w/that client — also preferably in chronological order. Ideally I could also characterize the type of interaction I had with the client or related to the client’s case — was it a phone call, a visit at the jail, an office appointment, a court appearance, or what? That way, if I wanted to see all the dates/times I saw a client in jail, I could quickly focus in on that.

What I need is sort of like what you can do w/email. You can view your inbox by date messages were received, or group by sender. You can sort based on whether a message has an attachment. You can sort based on whether you replied. You can sort by message subject, etc. I need to be able to take case/client notes quickly and then save them in a way that allows me to use the data in more than one way later on.

So tell me, wise readers, does anything like this exist?

2 thoughts on “In search of case management”

  1. TimeMatters is a good program; it’s a bit buggy, but it has all the elements you want. I’m trying to remember the name of the company that makes it…

  2. Good call, Kathy. Unfortunately, it appears to be a Lexis product, which means it’s way out of my price range at $520. I’d rather buy Filemaker for $300 and just create the database of my dreams. In fact, I might just do that, but I’m still very much open to suggestions….

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