CIOs explain justice data sharing

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State chief information officers this month released a report to illustrate how law enforcement agencies should share information.

The National Association of State Chief Information Officers released a Concept of Operations for justice information sharing on August 1. The 60-page document includes a scenario illustrating the importance of a clear business process when integrating law enforcement systems. The report is designed to tell state CIOs how to integrate justice information systems, including guidelines for what investments need to be made to build an information technology architecture for all groups involved.

"We tried to take a look at justice integration efforts all across the country," said Gerry Wethington, Missouri State CIO and NASCIO president.

The report defines "justice integration" and provides an example of how it would work.

Integrated justice systems collect data as close to the source as possible once and use the data entry in multiple ways. Successful systems are fast and let users set parameters based on their own needs. For instance, with an integrated justice system a user should be able to find prisoners in correctional facilities within 10 seconds, with a guaranteed accuracy of 24 hours. And the parameters could be changed for the needs of other users.

The report should not be "viewed as being the final installment," because it is done from a law enforcement perspective, Wethington said. In the future, the organization will revisit scenarios from other criminal justice perspectives so that everyone understands what drives the other participants in the justice system.

SEARCH, the National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics, produced the report, with validation from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services and the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. A grant from the Justice Department funded the project.

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