Pa. hires Unisys for crime records

The system that powers the Pennsylvania State Police's criminal data sharing capability will undergo a major revamp as part of a 56-month contract recently awarded to Unisys.

As part of the contract, Unisys will provide application development and systems integration for Computerized Criminal History Record Information System (CCHRI), including four new ES7000 servers, commodity servers and various application packages to standardize the CCHRI around an Intel-based platform.

Many tasks that are now performed manually because of the limitations of the current mainframe system will be automated and dramatically speeded up, said Maj. John Thierwechter, director of the State Police Bureau of Records and Identification.

"By eliminating many of the manual workflow processes internally, information can be obtained and disseminated much more quickly and efficiently," he said. "By utilizing the automated workflow processes, the risk of work sitting on someone's desk or papers becoming lost (and) causing lengthy delays is practically eliminated."

The most notable of the new capabilities will be the ability to update the criminal history information electronically, he said. Getting those updates now from other criminal justice departments relies on batch processing using tape cartridges, compact disks and other media, whereas the new system will allow most of that to be done over the network in real time.

The upgrade of the CCHRI will, for the most part, also eliminate the need to retrieve physical folders of criminals when processing the work, Thierwechter said, and users of the system will eventually be able to access the entire contents of those criminal jackets from their desktops.

This upgrade was planned several years ago, he said, but circumstances also forced the changes.

"The circumstances in this case being that the existing system was becoming increasingly cumbersome in its ability to adapt and respond to the rapidly changing requirements of the law enforcement community in general, and legislative mandates in particular," Thierwechter said.

About the Author

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

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