Anyone that is familiar with the police procedural style of television shows knows the plot line where evidence in an older case is damaged, destroyed or missing because of a poor management system or disaster hitting the storage facility. This acts as the catalyst for the episode and the good guys need to come up with a new way to capture the villain.

Unfortunately, that series of events is not limited to the small screen as a courthouse in Illinois experienced a few months ago. According to the Southern Illinoisan, the Jackson County Courthouse is facing a massive document storage issue.

State’s Attorney Mike Carr told the news source that currently everything is secure but thousands of pieces of paper are in boxes stacked from floor to ceiling in the courthouse basement. A flood or fire in the building would be devastating. There is also very little organization to the overall system. Cleaning up the area has been moving up the priority list.

“It’s a process. We’re taking baby steps,” Carr said. “We’re trying to get out of the 1990s and into something will help us in an automated fashion.”

While there is a plan to install document scanners, the first step needs to be organization of the existing documents. Some paperwork, like old traffic offenses, can be securely destroyed but documents pertaining to murder cases, for example, have a permanent retention schedule and need to be kept forever.

This is where a business document storage service can become an invaluable resource. Not only can an organization rest assured that any paperwork kept in storage is safe from the elements, but it is also organized in a way that any document can be found at a moment’s notice.

A full service records management firm can also scan the files that are requested into the new electronic library. Document with a permanent retention can be identified for imaging as well. The remaining hard copy can be organized, have retention schedules applied in the inventory database and be securely destroyed at the proper time. There is also the added bonus of the physical space in the building that will be opened up with those boxes out.