State enhancing criminal justice net

Pennsylvania Justice Network

Pennsylvania recently signed a $1.4 million contract with a Maryland-based

information technology company to help enhance the commonwealth's criminal

justice network system.

Stephen Mills, president of Diverse Technologies Corp., said the contract

would support the system, called the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNet),

with research, development and public awareness. The Upper Marlboro, Md.-based

company also provides financial and logistics support services.

JNet is a secure, integrated data-sharing system used by scores of state,

county, local, federal public safety and criminal justice agencies and authorities.

Although its origins date to 1995, the system was launched in 1998 and

is still being developed and expanded in stages. About 6,000 users are on

the system, and the system is being expanded to all of Pennsylvania's 67

counties. It is also held up as a technology model for other states and

municipalities.

Mills said his company would research how to take information developed

in many different agencies — whether state police, courts or corrections

— and make it available to multiple users via a Web-based architecture.

The company will also help the state market the system, explaining to potential

users what information is available and what they can share.

"This is their vision and their model, and we're simply the executors

of that vision," he said. "Many other contractors provide hardware and some

provide criminal justice research. We're a piece of the entire picture."

Despite the economic woes many state governments are experiencing, Mills

said that since Sept. 11, 2001, the public is demanding better security

and states will continue to fund and expand their systems.

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