The City of Pittsburgh’s court scheduling system, referred to as “PayCops”, is an Oracle application that enables the City to efficiently schedule its police officers for court dates. The system takes into account the pass days of the individual officers, the scheduling requirements of the court system, and the terms of the collective bargaining agreement. It considers all of those important factors in arriving at a schedule that minimizes the cost of overtime for court appearances by officers.
The PayCops application requires the exchange of data between two municipal entities — the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. The County administers the municipal court system, within which the City officers must make their court appearances.
When PayCops schedules an officer for a court appearance, it automatically sends an email to that officer, and inserts the court date into the officer’s Outlook calendar. Thus an officer who logs into the Automated Police Reporting System (APRS) to enter any City police report will automatically be reminded of any court dates on their calendar in the next three days. From APRS, that officer has a read–only interface into PayCops to view their entire court schedule.
For payroll purposes, court appearances by police officers must be tracked. Before the SmartCard enhancement was implemented, this record–keeping was handled manually. Arriving at the courtroom, the officer would check in with the court. Upon leaving the courtroom, the officer would check back out. These events were recorded on cards, which were then sent to the Payroll department, to be matched against each officer’s court schedule.
Building an Integrated Solution
The project to develop a SmartCard enhancement to PayCops came about in the fall of 2008, when all City police officers were issued new identification cards that included scannable magnetic stripes and barcodes. The City sought to replace the paper court appearance cards with an integrated hardware/software solution, utilizing scanning technology and custom modifications to the PayCops software.
B–Three Solutions worked with the City to achieve this integrated solution. An NCR kiosk was installed at each municipal court location to handle the check–in/check–out function.
For check–in, the officer scans his or her SmartCard ID and answers a few questions through touch screen prompts. For check–out, the officer again scans the card and answers several questions via the touch screen.
B–Three performed the necessary modifications to the Oracle database, and wrote the custom code to capture the check–in/check–out data and match it up with the full schedule of court appearances. To provide for the possibility of a damaged SmartCard or a malfunctioning scanner, B–Three created a manual check–in/check–out interface that could collect the required information.
B–Three also wrote the custom software to interface with the NCR kiosk equipment, such as camera/DVR support, mag stripe and barcode reader, and a receipt printer.
To complete the integrated solution, B–Three created reports for use by management and by the Payroll department.