By Lori Fullbright, The News On 6
TULSA COUNTY -- Computers versus criminals -- a new national database is connecting crimes across the country that in the past would've gone unsolved.
The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office is one of the first agencies in Oklahoma to get online with the new system, which was created after the September 11th terrorist attacks to help police agencies share information across state lines.
This super computer lets officers and deputies all over the country put information about crimes in, and also get information out. This database doesn't just store information, it also connects the dots. For example, say you have an arson at a warehouse in Tulsa and all the names of the witnesses are put into the database, called N-DEx. L.A. later has a similar warehouse fire and N-DEx searches all the witnesses' names there and finds a match at both fires, which could point police to the suspect.
In the past, that would've been impossible.
Sergeant Willie Lewis will soon be able to access N-DEx, which stands for Law Enforcement National Data Exchange, right from his patrol car. That means he and other Tulsa County deputies can put information about Tulsa area cases into the super computer and also search to see if other cases or criminals in the nation match ones here.
"We're going to be able to share a lot of information quicker and faster and hopefully solve crimes faster," said Sgt. Shannon Clark, Tulsa County Sheriff's Office.
Criminals think nothing these days of crossing county or state lines, but every police agency has a different computer system, which makes it hard to search and share information. N-DEx now makes it possible for Tulsa County to share with anybody in the country and vice versa.
"We're going to be able to share all this information nationwide. Criminals can only run and hide so much," Clark said.
Information from jails, parole officers, federal agencies and details about crimes will all be put into the super computer, but officers say that shouldn't make you nervous.
"This isn't big brothers always watching. If you're a criminal, you should be scared. If you're a law abiding, tax paying citizen, you have nothing to fear," Clark said.
There are currently 100-million cases in N-DEx and more are being added every day. The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office should be online with it by January.