23 Feb State receives grant for justice information sharing
Wisconsin is one of six states to receive a $50,000 grant to pull information sharing in the state’s law enforcement network further into the Internet age.
Wisconsin’s grant proposal was submitted in January by the state’s Office of Justice Assistance, which houses the Wisconsin Justice Information Sharing (WIJIS) program. WIJIS is charged with maintaining, promoting and coordinating automated justice information systems.
WIJIS is developing solutions to provide justice professionals with access to shared data stored in independent systems. By statute, the program is authorized to maintain, promote and coordinate automated justice information systems among numerous bodies, including more than 500 police departments, county sheriffs’ offices, the Department of Justice and the Department of Corrections.
With the grant, recently awarded by the National Governors Association, Wisconsin will launch a pilot project that uses an XML-based standard to give justice personnel access to updated probation and parole conditions. The grant program itself is geared toward making information sharing more efficient, using a “standards-based approach rather than building one interface at a time,” said WIJIS Project Director Jim Pingel.
Pingel noted that today, to get current probation and parole information to an officer on the street, a piece of paper needs to be moved from the Department of Justice to another office, or an officer has to call into a dispatcher, who in turn calls an 800 number at DOJ to get that information over the phone.
“We’re going to use the leading tools out there in terms of Internet-based, secure information sharing to move that information around to the right people in a timely manner,” Pingel said. “It’s a great learning opportunity for us. It’s really just to make information flow more smoothly between the systems.”
Project Analyst Mo West said that through the pilot project, the state is “building a justice gateway” to handle traffic of information among law enforcement, the courts and corrections on global scale.
“In general, local agencies do a good job of building automation systems,” West said. “The next step is to do a better job of talking to each other.”
The grant also leverages state funding so that the state’s justice system can expand from probation and parole information to other areas within the system.
“This gets buy-in at a policy level,” West said. “This is just a prototype of how it can be done.”