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Artificial Intelligence: Expert Systems, Microcomputers and Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Law and Order Volume: 36 Issue: 3 Dated: (March 1988) Pages: 58-66
J Cameron
Date Published
9 pages
This article presents a historical perspective of data gathering in law enforcement and discusses the present challenges in information management systems such as microcomputers and artificial intelligence.
The inception of the Uniform Crime Records (UCR) program of collecting and categorizing data on crimes known to police, its gradual acceptance by law enforcement agencies, and its impact on the way police administrators conduct business with regard to information management is described. Widespread acceptance of UCR was spurred by financial backing from the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) and by congressional legislation which bolstered the program by authorizing the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to act as a clearing house for all data gathered. This article provides information on the evolution of microcomputer use in law enforcement, describing a variety of information management systems, including the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and Automated Fingerprinting Identification Systems (AFIS). Various microcomputer training programs are discussed, and software packages and their applications are described. Word processing, budget management, crime reporting, computer-aided dispatching, computer based training, fleet management, fingerprint identification, and pawn shop inventory are among the law enforcement applications discussed. Information is provided on computer languages such as BASIC and PASCAL; languages in the forefront of the Artificial Intelligence movement like PROLOG and LISP; and expert systems such as MYCIN, PUFF, ONCOCIN, CATS-1, DENDRAL, and PROSPECTOR.