Book offers justice integration tips

Law enforcement officials now have a handbook to help them get support to integrate state and local information systems.

The guidebook, "And Justice for All: Designing Your Business Case for Integrating Justice Information," by the Center for Technology and Government at the State University of New York at Albany, provides guidelines and tools for officials to get support from politicians and members of the community, as well as financial backing.

An integrated information system ties together state and local databases so law enforcement officers have all available information on a suspect, location or victim.

The Justice Department, which awarded a $364,000 grant through the university's Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance, is undertaking a national effort to increase information sharing among state and local agencies.

The guidebook focuses on "having the right people at the table," said Stephanie Simon, the center's information coordinator. "You need to find a champion — a decision-maker," she said. The guidebook talks about obstacles that must be overcome, such as privacy concerns and the large price tag on an integration system.

The guidebook was created with input from federal, state and local justice officials and from 20 existing integration projects. It walks readers through creating a business proposal, including examples, references and Internet World Wide Web addresses.

The 88-page guidebook and eight-page executive summary are available online at www.ctg.albany.edu/resources/abstract/abdoj_justice.html. Hard copies are available by calling the Bureau of Justice Assistance at (800) 688-4252. Copies are free, but shipping and handling fees may apply, Simon said.

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