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July 21, 2010

New technology to help cops identify offenders

State parole and probation officials unveiled this morning new technology to make it easier for cops on the beat to identify offenders on parole and probation:

"Livescan allows a parolee or probationer to be digitally fingerprinted, palm-printed, and photographed at one machine, with the confirmed identification information being transmitted quickly to the Law Enforcement Dashboard, a system that allows police officers to view an offender’s criminal history information from multiple sources within minutes on a single screen.

Livescan closes an information gap: until now, police agencies were not always able to immediately ascertain whether someone was under Parole and Probation supervision. Now, that important component of an offender’s record will show up as a reportable event on his or her “RAP” sheet within minutes after Livescan completes the process."

Here is the full statement from the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services:

DPSCS Rolls Out Livescan Digital Technology
to Close an Information Gap

Security integration, aiding law enforcement, improving public safety

Towson, MD (July 21, 2010)---In a continuing effort to assist law enforcement, close information gaps, and make the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation (DPP) function as a leader in public safety, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS) today showed off new technology called the Livescan crossmatch system. The system was demonstrated in the Westminster DPP office by DPP Director Patrick McGee and DPSCS Chief Information Officer Ron Brothers.

Livescan allows a parolee or probationer to be digitally fingerprinted, palm-printed, and photographed at one machine, with the confirmed identification information being transmitted quickly to the Law Enforcement Dashboard, a system (also developed by DPSCS IT) that allows police officers to view an offender’s criminal history information from multiple sources within minutes on a single screen.

Livescan closes an information gap: until now, police agencies were not always able to immediately ascertain whether someone was under Parole and Probation supervision. Now, that important component of an offender’s record will show up as a reportable event on his or her “RAP” sheet within minutes after Livescan completes the process.

“Thanks to Governor O’Malley’s commitment to Parole and Probation, we are taking a leadership role with security integration---sharing information better than ever with law enforcement agencies here and across the country,” says DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard.

The technology is another example of the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) working with DPSCS to help fund important public safety initiatives. GOCCP helped secure the grant of nearly $405,000 for the most recent 14 DPP office Livescans. Under the O’Malley administration, Parole and Probation has been a priority agency, with an intensive focus on taking repeat violent offenders off the streets.

DPP’s Violence Prevention Initiative has been critical in helping jurisdictions reduce shootings and homicides, and in requesting more warrants and revocations when DPP clients violate the terms of their supervision.

Thanks to the grant and assistance from GOCCP, 29 Livescan machines have now been installed in DPP offices in every jurisdiction in Maryland. Some busier intake offices have more than one Livescan, and others will be installed in the coming months.

Statewide, DPSCS IT professionals have helped or advised local law enforcement and other agencies on 206 Livescan installations. DPSCS itself purchased a number of these for local agencies, sheriff’s offices, and detention centers. The machines are also installed in several Division of Correction state prisons.

“We are making tremendous progress with technology in the effort to improve information-sharing,” says DPSCS IT Chief Information Officer Ron Brothers. “What used to be very difficult to locate now in some cases can be viewed within minutes. We continue to improve IT systems that help not only our internal DPSCS agencies, but law enforcement across the state too. That translates into improved public safety for all of

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About Peter Hermann
Peter Hermann started covering news for The Baltimore Sun in 1990, first in Anne Arundel County and, starting in 1994, reporting on the Baltimore Police Department. In 2001, he was assigned to Jerusalem as the Baltimore Sun's Middle East correspondent. He returned in 2005 as an assistant city editor overseeing crime coverage. In 2008, Peter returned to the beat as a daily reporter and blogger. A recent BBC report featured him in a segment on the harsh realities of covering crime in Baltimore.

Coverage will focus on crime trends, problems in neighborhoods in the city and elsewhere, profiles of victims and police officers and try to offer readers a fresh perspective on one of the most vexing issues facing Baltimore and its future.



Contributing to this blog is Justin Fenton, who joined The Sun in 2005 and has covered the Baltimore City Police Department and the criminal justice system since 2008. His work includes an investigation into Cal Ripken Jr.’s minor league baseball stadium deal with his hometown of Aberdeen, a three-part series chronicling a ruthless con woman, coverage of the killing of five Amish children at a schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pa., and a job swap with a British crime reporter to explore differences in crime-fighting. A special report looking into how city police handle rape cases led to sweeping reforms that changed the way sexual assaults are investigated in Baltimore. He was recognized as the best reporter in Baltimore by the City Paper in 2010 and by Baltimore Magazine in 2011.
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