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Keeping tabs for the police

Jackson Bell

This is the latest in an occasional series on Burbank Police

Department bureaus.

CIVIC CENTER -- Crystal Ray describes her staff as a group of

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“mini-detectives.”

As manager of the Burbank Police Department’s Records Bureau, Ray

oversees a staff that handles all paperwork and provides officers

with the data they need to perform their job.

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“We find out the details on individuals arrested,” she said.

“We’re experts on how to research them.”

The bureau investigates the criminal history of arrestees,

including whether they have any warrants or if they are convicted sex

offenders. To do that, Ray’s 18-member staff has to be adept at

searching such statewide and nationwide databases as the Department

of Motor Vehicles, the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau

of Investigation.

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The bureau also processes data, and retrieves information for

applicant checks, subpoenas and requests from other agencies ranging

from district attorneys’ offices to the California Department of

Children and Family Services.

“The department needs someone to do this for them because

investigators are investigating leads and the other officers are on

patrol,” said Ray, who has worked for the bureau for eight years.

To accommodate the officers they serve, the bureau has to be

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staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The police records

technicians and data entry operators work three 12-hour shifts each

week.

Ray said what makes the Burbank Police Records Bureau different

from most other police departments is that Burbank’s department is

responsible for reporting personal information to officers on patrol.

Most other departments usually have dispatch officers run that data.

“We do it so dispatch is more effective and not bogged down,” Ray

said. “But [dispatch] still does it for vehicles or premises

locations.”

For Edmund Urquiza, a police records technician, providing that

extra assistance is what makes his job worthwhile.

“We get to have some active involvement with investigation,

although on a more technological level,” Urquiza said. “I enjoy it

because we get to be involved with putting criminals behind bars.”


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