Oklahoma law enforcement using computers to solve crimes

Wednesday, October 27th 2004, 6:12 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- Computer software and databases are the newest weapons being used by Oklahoma law enforcement agencies to streamline their crime-fighting efforts.

The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation's 2004 annual report reveals that authorities are increasingly relying on computers to pool information and solve crimes.

"Obtaining and recording information is part and parcel of a peace officer's job," OSBI Director A. DeWade Langley wrote in the report, "and we do it well...What we have traditionally done, very poorly, is share that information with each other."

Already, steps have been taken to change that.

The OSBI has begun installing the Statewide Incident Based Reporting System, or SIBRS, in selected agencies for field testing, the report says. Once fully implemented, the system will allow city and county agencies to transmit reports directly to OSBI via computer.

OSBI spokeswoman Jessica Brown said that will permit the agency to compile and compare crime statistics monthly and share that data with contributing agencies. Until now, that sort of information was available only in the yearly Uniform Crime Report.

Another database in the works will serve as a central depository for information on suspects and known criminals, Brown said. Criminals' aliases, prior addresses, known associates, vehicle ownership and more will be entered into the database.

"Right now all that's scattered," Brown said, "but we're putting it into one central system where all law enforcement can access it."

Other highlights of the report include:

-- OSBI's revenue for fiscal year 2004 exceeded the budget by more than $380,000. Increases came from a variety of sources, including fees for laboratory analysis, criminal background checks and conceal-carry permits.

-- Federal grants for the year totaled more than $2 million, much of which was spent on DNA outsourcing and the SIBRS system.

-- DNA samples from more than 18,000 convicts were processed at a private laboratory. About 17,000 of those already have returned DNA profiles, and about two-thirds of those have been reviewed and entered into a DNA database.