Innovation In Public Safety Information Technology Showcased for Chinese Delegation
Towson, MD (September 22, 2010)---A delegation from the Jiangsu province of China visited with the Information Technology and Communication Division (ITCD) today to learn more about technological systems used by Maryland’s Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services (DPSCS). The group saw first-hand many of the innovative programs ITCD has developed to improve public safety over the past few years.
Jiangsu province, located on China’s eastern shoreline, boasts a population of 80 million and is one of the most developed areas of the country. Their visit to the area, which included several local and state government agencies, was coordinated by the University of Maryland’s China Initiative.
DPSCS is fast becoming a leader in information technology for the criminal justice arena. In 2008, ITCD brought Maryland’s Automated Fingerprint Identification System (MAFIS) into the 21st century. Transferring more than eight million criminal and non-criminal fingerprints to digital format, MAFIS dramatically improves the state’s ability to rapidly and positively identify known criminals and perform background checks. ITCD also created the Local Law Enforcement Dashboard in 2008. The program consolidates data from 12 state agencies and over 85 different databases into a single web-based clearing house. Today the Dashboard gets an average of 34,000 hits a day from law enforcement, who can find criminal and background information on an individual in minutes instead of hours.
To improve operations in DPSCS’ Division of Parole and Probation (DPP), ITCD recently completed the installation of Livescan technology throughout the state. Livescan allows a parolee or probationer to be digitally fingerprinted, palm-printed, and photographed at one machine. Now, that important component of an offender’s record will show up as a reportable event on his or her “RAP” sheet within minutes for all law enforcement to see. Soon DPP offices will also have Kiosk technology for supervision of lower level offenders, freeing up agent caseloads to concentrate on higher level supervisees. The Department’s ITCD has also been instrumental in many cross-border data sharing initiatives that help DPP track offenders who commit crimes in other jurisdictions.
The delegation, whose focus during their visit was Information Policy and E-Government Management, learned about these and an array of other technological advancements at DPSCS that are helping Maryland perform public safety functions more efficiently. The Maryland China Initiative, an international program of the University of Maryland, routinely hosts Chinese partners in an effort to strengthen institutions, advance knowledge of best practices, and facilitate collaboration between American and Chinese professionals working in the public interest.