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Booking with Technology

A cooperative effort between state, county, and local agencies, the Central Booking project integrates the latest technologies for fingerprinting, image identification, video conferencing, and computerized, record management systems.
PCCD’s Office of Criminal Justice System Improvements has helped create over 200 digital booking facilities to ensure; for example, accurate identification of offenders when arrested.
 
Fingerprinting
The Livescan arrest reporting device replaces the ink-and-roll process with electronic scanning of fingerprints. Digital copies are transmitted to the Automated Fingerprint Identification System at the Pennsylvania State Police for identification and storage. To date, most arrest and fingerprinting information is collected electronically.
 
Photo imaging
Commonwealth Photo Imaging Network (CPIN) stations capture and store digital photographs of arrested offenders. With CPIN, booking officers can take up to eight digital photographs of a suspect's face and distinguishing markings—scars, birthmarks, tattoos, etc.—and upload the images to the CPIN photo respository for access by law enforcement.
 
PCCD also funded the procurement of facial recognition capabilities which allow trained users to compare unknown photos of varying quality with the stored photos.  Agencies no longer have to purchase dedicated equipment to build photo lineups or use investigative tools.
  
 

Training and Accrediting Law Enforcement

Over 250 agencies have enrolled in the Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Program since its launch by the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association in 2001.
 
Accreditation strengthens the professionalism of law enforcement in the Commonwealth. It is also a time-proven means for helping institutions evaluate and improve their overall performance. The program is affordable, Pennsylvania-specific, and user-friendly.
 

Benefits

Accreditation benefits agencies by achieving these results:
  • Establishing a reliable framework for evaluating current procedures;
  • Reinforcing the planning process;
  • Encouraging problem solving and innovation; 
  • Improving management practices; 
  • Upgrading community services and relations; 
  • Expanding employees’ viewpoints, participation, and confidence; 
  • Extending agency accountability to the public and elected officials;
  • and reducing insurance expenses and exposure to lawsuits.
 
By comparing their operations to professional accreditation standards, institutions can determine what is needed to fill any gaps. The Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Accreditation Commission members, the accreditation staff, and accreditation coalition support groups throughout the state are available to assist with the process.
 

Process  

 
The three-step, accreditation process is simple and thorough:
 
1. Application.
 
Once a police department and local government officials have decided to pursue accreditation, they send a Letter of Intent along with an application fee of $100 to the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association (PCPA). PCPA then send out a packet of material which includes manuals, support materials, software-tracking and an orientation video.
 
2. Self-Assessment 
 
The accreditation manager compares how the agency’s current policies comply with the program’s 123 standards. Most agencies will discover that they are closer to compliance than anticipated. Thereafter, the group will host a mock assessment, with support from the accreditation staff and other resources, to help prepare for the third phase.
 
3. Formal Assessment 
 
In this final phase, trained assessors conduct an onsite, two-day review of the agency’s alignment with all standards and, if fully aligned, grants accreditation to the organization. Accreditation remains valid for three years.
 
 

The Pennsylvania Virtual Training Network (PAVTN)

 
The Pennsylvania Virtual Training Network (PAVTN) was launched in January 2012. PAVTN provides interactive on-line courses to thousands of law enforcement officers, primarily local police. 
 
The purpose of creating the VTN was to allow small departments to train more of their officers, to save significant dollars on travel and to encourage connections between law enforcement officials across the Commonwealth. The results have been extremely successful. The savings in travel and tuition for municipal police departments is substantial. Almost 2,000 officers have been trained. Plans are also in the works for a message board to allow participants to interact with their counterparts from around the state. One course, Investigating Strangulation, has become a model used by the U .S. Department of Justice and has attracted even international police officers.
 
Presently, there are 16 courses available online. The courses available are both those that are mandatory and those that are elective for officers. They include topics that will be immediately useful, such as Fingerprinting Compliance, Responding to Domestic Violence Calls and DUI Crackdowns, and those that are more specialized, such as Investigating Sexual Assault or Investigating Strangulation.
 
PAVTN is a logical method to save time and money by bringing training to officers rather than having the officers travel to a training site. Over 6,300 officers have enrolled to take all four of their mandatory training courses online. There are almost 9,800 registered users of PAVTN. The 16 available courses provide over 44,000 hours of training. 
 
Beyond the obvious cost-savings, PAVTN serves the function of allowing far more officers to be trained because it is so cost-efficient. Participants access the training at no cost to their agencies. This leads to more consistency in training across departments and ultimately to more qualified, more prepared local police departments.
 
The idea of using virtual training for Pennsylvania law enforcement officers was established by the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) and the Pennsylvania Chiefs of Police Association (PCPA). It is unique in that federal funds from both the Office on Violence Against Women and Bureau of Justice Administration were combined to create the network and support the ongoing development of new coursework. Funds from the Federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have also been used. It represents a unique collaboration between law enforcement and the victim service providers.
 
One of the most user friendly aspects of the PAVTN system is that users may access the courses whenever and wherever they like. Courses may be accessed 24/7 and at a user’s convenience. Courses may also be taken in small segments, with a user able to refresh him/herself on the material before continuing. It is a completely individualized study and offers short quizzes during the training to ensure the material is being understood.
 
PAVTN is operated and administered by staff of PCPA. The agency also provides general guidance and oversight of the creation of courses, monitors the reaction to them, troubleshoots any technical issues that arise and keeps records of the participants. PCPA also oversees the content of the courses.
 
PAVTN is only available to registered users; however, to check if you or your organization is eligible, contact PCPA at cjbraun@paachiefs.org or 717-236-1059.
 
 

The Law Enforcement Justice Information System (LEJIS)

 
The Law Enforcement Justice Information System (LEJIS) is an innovative police data sharing system that works in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET). LEJIS is transforming the way law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania access and share local, state, and federal public safety records. For the first time in Pennsylvania, participating law enforcement agencies have near-real-time access to each other’s police incident reports. With information more readily available, police officers and sheriffs are better equipped to increase their own safety, while detectives and District Attorneys can conduct more efficient investigations.
 
LEJIS improves patrol officer safety by providing near-real-time incident data to police in the field through their own agency’s RMS. It also enables investigators and supervisors to coordinate their investigations with other agencies and has led to many successful cross-jurisdictional investigations. LEJIS users can quickly identify whether other law enforcement agencies have had prior contact with an individual, a piece of property or a vehicle, and provides follow-up contact information. 
 
  • LEJIS now connects over 380 law enforcement agencies throughout Pennsylvania, including the City of Philadelphia Police Department and the City of Pittsburgh Bureau of Police. 
  • Thirty percent of the police departments in Pennsylvania are connected covering > 50% of the population.
  • Over 10,000,000 incidents have already been shared.
  • Over 600,000 searches have been conducted over the past two years.
  • The Corbett Administration awarded LEJIS an Award for Local Government Excellence in 2011 in the category Information Technology for its innovation and success. 
 
LEJIS is a data-driven, pointer index system, not a data warehouse. Police incident reports are not stored in the LEJIS index. Rather, each time a police department enters or modifies person, property or vehicle data in its RMS, the department’s RMS automatically submits and stores some of the report’s data in the LEJIS index. LEJIS users may rapidly search the index to help them solve cases.
 
Police departments participating in LEJIS maintain control over their RMS data. The executive officer of each department determines which incidents or incident categories get shared. If a new incident is added to their local RMS and is sharable, it automatically gets uploaded. If a previously shared record gets updated, those updates get sent to the LEJIS Index. Finally, if a previously shared record or information from a record, such as an individual’s name, gets deleted from the local RMS, it gets deleted from the LEJIS Index. This is to ensure synchronization between local RMSs and the LEJIS Index.
 
At present, several RMS vendors are certified to participate in LEJIS including Metro Technology Services, Cody, Informant Technologies, VisionAir, and DataWorksPlus (cNET contractor).
 
LEJIS is a partner with the Pennsylvania Justice Network (JNET). JNET provides a secure platform for police departments to share their RMS data. Transitioning LEJIS from its current governance to a technology project managed directly by JNET continues to proceed as planned. The Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency in partnership with the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association undertook the first actions supporting this goal by contracting with EJIS technology contractors to provide operations and maintenance through 2014.   
 
Law enforcement officials can gain access to LEJIS either through their police department’s RMS, or by logging into JNET, navigating to the Secure Home Page, clicking on the Justice Data link, and then selecting the LEJIS link.
 
For further information on connecting to LEJIS, please contact either Chief Tom Medwid, the LEJIS Steering Committee Chairman at 215-256-9500 or tmedwid@lowersalfordtownship.org. Also visit our public project website at www.LEJIS.net to learn more about the project.
 
 
 

Mid-Atlantic Regional Justice Information Sharing Initiative (MARIS)

 
The Mid-Atlantic Regional Justice Information Sharing (MARIS) Initiative grew out of a MARIS Forum sponsored by the Maryland Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention in June of 2012. The MARIS Forum showcased initial efforts and success stories involving inter-state justice information sharing. As a result, representatives from several states met in Philadelphia in September 2012 and from that meeting, three states (Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland) and the District of Columbia (D.C.) determined to pursue three distinct phases or priorities to promote criminal justice information sharing in the Mid-Atlantic. The first two phases involve direct/bulk exchange of data with the third phase including specific query/response on a person of interest.
 
Direct portal sharing will enable JNET users inter-state shared access to each of the MARIS partners and provide a single source for justice information. Given the density and mobility of the offender populations in these jurisdictions, the sharing of justice information was deemed critical to the administration of justice and public safety in the Mid-Atlantic multi-state region. 
 
Priority I - Arrest Sharing expansion is relatively low-risk, cost-effective, has limited legal and policy implications, and will promote stronger public safety outcomes with near real-time alerts going to parole and probation officers regarding their clientele’s arrests in the Mid-Atlantic. Currently, Pennsylvania is sharing arrest information with Maryland, via a point-to-point Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), enabling data to be moved back-and-forth.
 
Pennsylvania is already seeing positive rewards and returns from the MARIS arrest information sharing. Since Maryland began sharing arrest data with Pennsylvania on 12/1/2012, Pennsylvania has confirmed 419 actively monitored parolees and probationers have been arrested in Maryland, indicating about two active Pennsylvania parolees and probationers are arrested in Maryland on a daily basis. It is important to note that only 23 of 53 Pennsylvania counties are reporting hit confirmations on Maryland arrests via the JNET notifications application. In addition, a few of the larger Pennsylvania parole and probation counties that border Maryland are not reporting positive hit confirmations. So, the rewards are, in all probability, better than what is being reported. By expanding arrest sharing to D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Virginia, and West Virginia, Pennsylvania can expect to receive greater averages and more positive rewards and returns. All participating states and D.C. are supportive of the arrest sharing phase, reviewing a multi-state MOU agreement, enabling MARIS to share arrests with all partners. All states are in the initiation, review, or approval phase of the multi-state MOU with Pennsylvania legal recommending amending the existing IGA to accomplish this objective.
 
Priority II - Sharing Pennsylvania’s actively published criminal and child support warrants is also relatively low-risk and cost-effective with limited legal and policy implications. This phase will promote stronger public safety and child support program outcomes with near real-time alerts going to parole and probation and child support enforcement officers regarding their clientele’s warrants in the Mid-Atlantic.
 
Even though this phase has not yet started, we expect it to be quickly implemented, using a similar multi-state legal MOU/IGA mechanism from the arrest expansion described above. No firm metrics exist for out-of-state warrants being issued on Pennsylvania active clientele; however, Pennsylvania has and maintains over 13,000 active child support warrants on any given day. As of October 16, 2013, Pennsylvania had over 1.6 million active statewide warrants in the Magisterial District Judge System (MDJS) and over 141,000 active warrants in the Common Pleas Case Management System (CPCMS).  This MDJS break-down includes; 36,689 active criminal warrants, 6,251 active miscellaneous warrants, 593,369 active non-traffic warrants and 1,036,024 active traffic warrants. The CPCMS breakdown includes; 120,725 active criminal warrants, 193 active dependency warrants, 2,222 active juvenile warrants, 27 active juvenile miscellaneous warrants, 6,551 active miscellaneous warrants, 10,337 active summary warrants 994 active summary appeal warrants.  All told, Pennsylvania has over 1.8 million active warrants.