- Posted On: May 12, 2021
The City of Cadiz, KY (pop. 3,000) is home to Lake Barkley, a popular outdoor tourist destination in western Kentucky. In 2020, the City transitioned responsibility for Code Enforcement from City Hall to the Police Department. That’s when the City’s part-time Code Enforcement Officer, Charles Hiter, reached out to Comcate for help. I recently sat down with Officer Hiter to learn more about his experiences as a one-man Code Enforcement agency.
Why was the City looking for Code Enforcement software?
A year ago, when Code Enforcement became an office, versus an additional duty assigned to someone at City Hall, I was hired to bring the program together. Back then, I researched my options for tracking and managing cases. I tried stitching things together with Google Earth, Microsoft OneNote, Word, and Excel. And while it worked, it was cumbersome even for a small town. All the while, I was keeping my eye out for a software solution that would mesh with the processes we already had in place.
What led to the creation of a dedicated Code Enforcement position in Cadiz?
The Mayor and City staff were getting a lot of phone calls from City council members and the community asking for ordinances to be enforced. At the time, no one had the resources to respond appropriately.
How did you convince the higher-ups that Comcate was a “must-have” and not a “nice-to-have”?
The Chief of Police is my boss, and he reports monthly to the City Council about what we’re focusing on. So, the reporting aspect of Comcate and the fact that all of our data is in a single location now. I’m also looking forward to turning on the GIS interface so we can show on a map where the hotspots are. That will bring my case numbers to life.
As a part-timer, how does Code Enforcement Manager help when you’re not on duty?
That’s the great thing. If someone needs to see what’s going on with a case when I’m off duty, they can. The Chief has read-only access, and he can quickly lookup a case’s history. The administrative assistant here at the police department, Amber, gets most of the phone calls, and she can create cases in the system for me to follow up with when I’m on duty. Now, we don’t worry about things falling through the cracks.
Has your case capacity increased?
Comcate has definitely helped me make the most of my field time. Because Amber and I are working in the same system, I can be out in the community with my iPad. When a call comes into the Police Department, she enters it into Comcate, and I can see that I have another case to investigate without going back to the office.
And it was super helpful during COVID. When I was out on sick leave for a couple of weeks, I didn’t return to a pile of sticky notes that I had to figure out. Everything was in the system waiting for me to pick up where I left off.
How else is Comcate helping you to be more efficient?
Before Comcate, I spent a lot of time doing administrative stuff in the office. I’d take notes and pictures in the field that I’d have to print out and organize when I got back. Not anymore. Everything I add to a case in the field is organized and filed together. I just hit “print” in the field, and it adds it to my print queue so I can print it all out when I’m back in the office.
I also use Comcate to plan my day. I can easily sort my open cases by “date of next inspection” and see the cases that are either overdue or due today. From there, I can plan my route.
How did the implementation go?
It was a straightforward process. I sent over a spreadsheet of relevant ordinances, and they imported them into the system for me. I also sent over a few Notices of Violation that we’d been manually typing over the last year. We refined them based on some templates in the system and came up with something that looks very professional. The implementation was outstanding.
What’s your advice for Code Enforcement in other small communities?
Do yourself a favor and take a look at Comcate. It unites so many processes into a single function that one part-time resource like myself can be a real asset for the City.