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Law Enforcement Information Needs in Massachusetts

NCJ Number
Date Published
31 pages
This report examines potential computer benefits to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies in Massachusetts through an analysis of information systems in use and under development in the State and elsewhere.
This report by the Governor's Committee on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice examined two major information systems under development in New York and California. The New York State Identification and Information System (NYSIIS), the most comprehensive system proposed by any State, is expected to include, among other items, real time inquiry files on criminal history, fingerprints, fraudulent checks, personal appearance, names, warrant and wanted notifications, organized crime intelligence, stolen motor vehicles, and modus operandi. Further, the system is expected to have pattern analysis and scientific and criminological research capabilities. Unlike the New York system, California's system is being built on top of already operational systems and includes a central computer system for message switching. The California Criminal Justice Information System will include inquiry files on fire arms, registration, stolen property, and fingerprints. In addition, an index to files in the Statewide Federated Information System is being developed to tie together all noncriminal justice agencies in the State. This report has also developed a detailed picture of those functions which a complete law enforcement information and communications systems could perform. These include reviewing communications technology innovations, record searching (direct inquiry files), and management information for police, prosecutors, courts, corrections, command and control functions, criminal and legal investigation, and research and planning. Massachusetts is in the early stages of developing a statewide computerized law enforcement information and communication system, the Law Enforcement Agencies Project (LEAP). The Committee recommends a commitment to further system design and implementation in the following areas: equipment selection (hardware vs. software), personnel development, privacy and secrecy considerations, and jurisdictional conflicts. Recommendations include formation of a policy board, appointment of a project director and of a technical advisory panel to assist the board, aggressive recruitment of qualified personnel, and competitive bids for equipment. Funding is necessary for the implementation of the communications and record-searching phases of LEAP and for a detailed study of the State Police radio network.