Like other things in the criminal justice world, the computer system called Infotech has a second, more colorful name.
Pam Scanlon has dubbed it “Yahoo for Cops.”
It’s a search engine that a variety of San Diego County law enforcement agencies use to scan each other’s databases. All they need is their laptop computers.
Sun Microsystems has provided a good deal of equipment for Infotech and its predecessor systems, put together by the joint powers agency called the Automated Regional Justice Information System.
Now Sun is holding ARJIS’ work up as an example of creative problem-solving using the Web. And it’s saluting Scanlon, executive director of ARJIS. Both the machine and its maker are profiled on Sun’s Web site at (www. sun.com/dot-com/heroes).
“Yahoo for Cops” is the latest thing Scanlon’s agency has rolled out to local, state and federal law enforcement clients around San Diego.
Sun describes it as a global query system that extracts data from legacy law enforcement systems systems that belong to a spectrum of law enforcement agencies.
Previously, a police officer would have to go through 32 different screens to get the same information. Now he can take a laptop and search five different crime intelligence databases in seconds.
A National Institute of Justice grant helped develop the system.
ARJIS has also given local cops Cal-photo, a database of mug shots taken when suspects are booked on suspicion of a crime.
Some 28 law enforcement agencies , from college police departments to the FBI, from city police to the county sheriff , can use the secure part of the ARJISNet intranet to find all sorts of data. ARJISNet has material on crime cases, arrests, citations, field interviews, traffic accidents, fraudulent documents, photographs, gang information and stolen property.
Some ARJIS data is available to the public at (www.arjis.org).
Homebuyers scouting out neighborhoods have reportedly found the site’s crime statistics helpful in their searches. Not to mention the interactive crime maps, which lets a person zero in on a community and plot the locations of burglaries and worse.