For the Allegheny County Police Department, searching for details on past crimes sometimes calls for cabinet duty.
That means a team of detectives literally thumbing through paper records in old-fashioned file cabinets.
That’s how police work was done before computers and before officers elsewhere could access databases from handheld devices.
But despite its status as the third largest local department in the state, with about 200 officers, the Allegheny County Police Department is downright archaic compared to other law enforcement, even lagging behind police departments with as few as 18 officers.
“It’s very difficult,” Inspector Glenn Zilch told PublicSource, describing the hunt through paper records. “We end up literally putting five or six detectives on one file cabinet to start searching.”