The City of Brookhaven stretches over 12 square miles with a population of about 50,000 in the metro Atlanta area. The City Clerk’s office implemented JustFOIA to streamline their records requests process. The City and Police Department use JustFOIA to process more than 5,500 requests per year.
Hear from both the City and Police Department on their view of JustFOIA, one system configured for two different needs while working together to build trust and transparency.
Interview with Brookhaven City IT Department
JustFOIA was a natural fit for the City of Brookhaven. “Convincing the city clerk’s office to get JustFOIA was easy. It took a few months to become fully comfortable with the solution and let go of the spreadsheet,” said Cheryl Robinson-Smith.
When staff turned over, the Police Department quickly found themselves stacked up with spreadsheets and backlogs of records requests. “At that point, they called the clerk’s office who used JustFOIA for years and asked if they could use the same system to manage their records requests. There were over 400 backlogged open requests. The clerk’s office helped them create templates, emails, and workflows using the platform, and in a short time, they are all up-to-date.”
Receiving payments through the system saves time and the headache of tracking down payments from requesters. “Now, the Police Department get more payments through JustFOIA than the city clerk’s office,” emphasized Smith. “It was beneficial for both departments.”
“We were able to recoup thousands of dollars, and everything is organized,” Cheryl Robinson-Smith exclaimed.
Their favorite part? A platform built for its users. “You don’t have to be in IT (Information Technology) to learn to use it, and I don’t have to go train everyone on every step.” JustFOIA has many resources available to keep onboard new users and keep up-to-date on the system.
Interview with Brookhaven Police Department
“My experience with JustFOIA has been phenomenal. It’s so user-friendly that I didn’t need to read a manual, and I’m not IT savvy. I never have a day where there’s been an issue with the program, which is very unusual in today’s world. I can’t imagine using anything else.”
“It’s the keeping of the compliance days with the tracking of the amount of time I have left, figuring out what we have and haven’t provided quickly. For example, we have plenty of attorneys who start a discovery request, but we don’t hear from them for months. JustFOIA allows me to search by case number, names, or any keyword. Then, I send the email again from the program.”
“JustFOIA is the best part of my job, every day.”
The JustFOIA staff and support are the greatest people. They’re responsive, care, and listen, which is sometimes challenging. The police department runs records completely different than cities and other agencies. It benefits everyone to have a system that is so easy to use and customizable for every organization’s needs.