Harder to hide
The Cornerstone Data-Sharing Consortium — a group of nearly 30 law enforcement agencies in Missouri’s Jasper, Lawrence and Newton counties — is implementing technology to make information stored in disparate law enforcement records databases accessible across the region. The project aims to enhance officer safety, criminal investigations and resource sharing toward the goal of reducing regional crime.
Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn’s office received a technology grant from the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to fully fund the project. From there, the group sought software that could access information stored in the records databases of all Cornerstone member agencies and make it available on the mobile computers in deputies/officers’ cruisers. Jasper County and the Cornerstone Consortium decided on the C.O.B.R.A. System from Pottstown, Pa.-based CODY Systems.
The project began in April 2009 with the installation of a central server at the Jasper County Sheriff Office’s (JCSO) Data Center. The C.O.B.R.A. technology links all participating agencies’ records management systems (RMS) together on the server. Each agency’s information is segregated from all others in its own space on the server, and each agency controls what information to share and what different users can see. Information entered into a local RMS is synchronized with the central server within seconds of entry, where it is stored for searching. Officers can access the information at their stations and in mobile units connected to a wireless network.
Phase 1 of the project was completed in July 2009. The server is live and accepting connections, and the first group of agencies are fully online sharing and searching data. Also, the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office, the Jasper County Juvenile Office and the local post of the Missouri State Highway Patrol can access the information. Phase 2 is under way, which includes bringing more agencies online, as well as implementing a feature that allows officers to search the regional server as well as federal and state criminal information databases at the same time.
“Cornerstone started as a simple handshake between agencies to communicate better,” says Jasper County Sheriff Archie Dunn, who led the group. “Thanks to the software we have acquired, it’s grown into full-blown information-sharing. The ability to allow each agency to share its information without having to change their software system or give up control has pushed our group forward light years in our cooperation.”
Project: Public safety data sharing
Jurisdiction: The Cornerstone Information-Sharing Consortium in southwest Missouri
Agencies: Approximately 30 law enforcement agencies
Vendor: Pottstown, Pa.-based CODY Systems
Date completed: Phase 1, July 2009; Phase 2, ongoing