Pa. police to unite e-records
- By Brian Robinson
- Nov 18, 2001
The Pennsylvania State Police have awarded a $17 million, three-year contract
to combine their extensive criminal records systems, including one that
holds some 2 million paper-based files, into a single electronic document
The integrated system will allow users to check on whether someone has
a criminal history, information often used by organizations as part of a
background check on potential employees.
One of the systems to be integrated, for example, is the Pennsylvania
Access To Criminal History System (PATCH). That system already has Web-based
access for those who want to check histories, but because of its limited
capacity, it is available only to companies who are high-volume users.
The new system will also allow users to pay for criminal history checks
by credit card and to get a real-time response.
"It just will be far more efficient," said Capt. John Thierwechter,
director of the operational records division in the state police Bureau
of Records and Identification. "It will allow for comparisons of records
features online, for example. Now, people have to get up out of their desks
and do those comparisons manually."
It will also greatly extend the reach of the state police because its
own agencies and officers use the system to make criminal history checks.
The state police also will be able to scan, store and make images of documents
associated with a particular history.
The integration program, which is being carried out by Unisys Corp.,
will take just more than three years to complete, although some elements
will be available well before then. Thierwechter expects the new PATCH system
to be up and running in less than a year, for example, with a digital archiving
system ready to go soon after.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.