State police 'revolutionize' records

The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) has awarded a contract worth at least $7.3 million for an automated records management system that will enable real-time information sharing and "proactive" law enforcement — the core of the department's new Incident Information Management System.

The records management system will completely replace the old paper-based system, requiring in most cases that data only be entered once for it to be available to all departments throughout PSP.

The new system "will revolutionize the PSP's business process by greatly reducing redundant data entry and making incident information available in real time to commanders and field personnel," said Ronald Wilt, the system's program manager.

The award is the largest to date for ABM America Inc., the U.S. arm of ABM United Kingdom Ltd., one of Britain's leading suppliers of criminal intelligence information technology.

The award also will set the Pennsylvania department apart from most other police departments in the United States, according to John Shaw, vice president of ABM America. They usually get their funding according to the crime statistics they amass, he said, which is different from the European and Asian models on which PSP's new system will be based.

"Records management in the [United States] is mainly about collecting data to produce those statistics, and the net outcome for police officers is that they write reports which disappear into the system and they get nothing tangible back from the process," he said.

The ABM system puts information from incident reports into a centralized database, and officers can see relationships among data through visual link charts and an analysis program. In that way, for example, shift officers can immediately see what is happening on their shift with possible related incidents and can allocate resources accordingly.

The records management system will be tightly integrated with a number of other systems that make up the Incident Information Management System, which is planned to be fully deployed by May 2006. A regional rollout and training program is scheduled to begin in November 2003.

Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be reached at hullite@mindspring.com.

About the Author

Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.

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