Page Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 January 2016 11:02 EDT, 2001, 2002, 2008, 2016

Complex Operational and Organizational Problems

PROJECT: FBI Case Backlog

Dr. Dean S. Hartley III

Project Metadata Keywords
Label Name Other Year DurationYrs
Client Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Department of Justice (DOJ)
Dates 1992 0.75
Employer DOE Oak Ridge Facilities
Partner N/A
Pubs Deterioration of Criminal Justice Information Services: Solving the Disposition Backlog, K/DSRD-1117 author 1992
Industrial issues
Inventory control
Organizational structure


During the FBI Productivity Study, one area of productivity was identified that required special consideration. The FBI maintained a national database of dispositions of arrests: for example, the person was convicted or the person was released and charges were dropped.  However, there were two years of unentered data, meaning that a person could be reported to other authorities as having been arrested, despite having been subsequently cleared.  The rate of entry of dispositions was not greater than the rate of creation of new dispositions.  As an inventory problem, it was clear that the situation would improve without some changes.

The states submitting the dispositions had two alternatives for submissions, manual (paper) submissions and computerized submissions.  Computerized submissions could be fed into the FBI system on a real-time basis; however, paper submissions had to be manually entered by FBI clerks.


The obvious solution was to have all states use the computerized process; however, this clearly would not happen immediately, as it would require changes not only at the state level, but also at the local law enforcement level within each state.  Therefore the recommendations were two-fold: increase the encouragement of the states to convert to computerized submissions and hire additional clerks to process the manual submissions as a temporary measure to eliminate the backlog.  Once the backlog was eliminated the number of clerks could be reduced to the level required to meet the (decreasing) rate of manual submissions.

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