Patrol Says Better Data Will Make Streets Safer
Administrators at the Washington State Patrol say they have completed a two-year initiative designed to input hundreds of thousands of accumulated documents into the state’s central criminal records registry.
In the past, the state patrol would typically take 13 months to enter such data as felony convictions and fingerprint forms into the registry, but starting in January, that number will be reduced to 30 days.
Police departments, prospective employers, and community groups will be able to access more up-to-date information that could indicate a person’s past violent offenses via a background check.
Becky Miner, the acting criminal-history records manager for the patrol, believes that the addition of the latest technology, such as fingerprint scanners, could help speed up the process of background checks and fingerprint evaluations to within hours or minutes, and will allow the department to better deal with new records.
Approximately 40 police departments in the state of Washington now have such machines. Police will also be able to find out whether a suspect has an outstanding warrant in another county and should not be released.
The Washington State Patrol gathers about 30,000 fingerprint forms every month, and gets about 70,000 to 80,000 background check requests every month.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the Seattle Times (01/23/04) P. B3; Ko, Michael.