REVIEWER: Kay Meyer, program manager for North Carolina Office of the State Controller.
BACKGROUND: The NC Office of the State Controller supports and guides enterprise data integration projects, including the new Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Automated Services. CJLEADS integrates silos of criminal offender data into a single application. The application provides courts, law enforcement, and probation and parole officials a complete view of a criminal offender, and lets agencies establish offender watch lists. When offenders on a watch list have a change in status, such as an arrest, upcoming court date or release from custody, the criminal justice professional is alerted and can take appropriate action.
PLATFORMS: CJLEADS is an on-demand service hosted by SAS. The Web-based application is available to authorized users around the clock.
PROBLEM SOLVED: In 2008, the murders of two students at North Carolina universities highlighted the need for efficient, accurate access to unified offender information. With key information spread across numerous systems, criminal justice officials struggled to obtain a comprehensive view of a potentially dangerous offender before making decisions about that offender. Lacking a central, integrated offender database, criminal justice professionals had to search multiple siloed systems to put together a picture of a criminal. This time-consuming, often manual data integration delays decision-making and increases the risk of overlooking critical details. In 2008, new legislation directed the NC OSC to develop an integrated criminal justice application. SAS was selected to analyze available data and develop and implement an integrated solution.
PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: CJLEADS provides one comprehensive database from various criminal justice organizations, including court, warrant, probation, parole and local jail information, with plans to add juvenile court, sex offender and Department of Motor Vehicles records over time. Participating agencies can access a Web-based application containing data and images, including: comprehensive, easy-to-read criminal history; outstanding warrants and arrest orders; prison sentences; information on probation, parole, post-sentence release, county jail custody, domestic violence court records; as well as gang associations, marks and tattoos.
STRENGTHS: Because SAS hosts CJLEADS, the state could focus on design and business requirements rather than procurement and installation of a technical infrastructure. With shrinking state budgets, leveraging existing computing capabilities and technical support resources was an economical and efficient way to establish the new application environment. The hosted CJLEADS application is highly scalable. Initially supporting approximately 3,000 users, it will grow within two years to support some 33,000 criminal justice professionals, including judges, district attorneys, magistrates, clerks of court, law enforcement officers, probation and parole officers, prison officials and juvenile court counselors. Based on improved access to information, the State estimates an intangible benefit annually of $7 million. SAS brought considerable resources to this project and demonstrated a vested interest in public safety. SAS’ expertise in data integration and analytics, as well as strong security controls of the physical technical environment and application access and authentication, was critical due to the complexity and sensitivity of the data.
WEAKNESSES: The greatest challenge for CJLEADS is data quality and the lack of common identifiers for data from disparate sources. Each source system identifies records according to its own business needs. Some data is old, incomplete or inconsistent. Significant time and effort was spent developing consistent business rules to accurately match records for one individual from various data sources. Because critical, life-or-death decisions are made based on information in CJLEADS, accurate data integration is pivotal to the project’s success.
SELECTION CRITERIA: SAS was selected for the CJLEADS project given its expertise in data analytics and business intelligence, comprehensive technology to integrate data from disparate sources and ability to develop an easy-to-use, intuitive Web-based application that incorporates data integration, query, analytics and user interface.
DELIVERABLES: CJLEADS’ single, integrated, Web-based application provides law enforcement, court officials and other criminal justice professionals access to comprehensive offender information. Users can set up watch lists that send alerts when an offender’s record changes.
VENDOR SUPPORT: The strong, collaborative relationship between SAS and the State of North Carolina has been critical to CJLEADS application development. SAS’ knowledge of key technology and best practices, combined with a flexible, iterative design approach and committed resources from both SAS and the State, enabled the application to meet the fast, legislatively mandated time frame.
DOCUMENTATION: SAS and the State have developed a robust, intuitive application that should be easy to learn. That lets documentation focus not only on how the application works, but also on content and appropriate use of the data.
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Cary, NC 27513