N.C. Department of Correction--Correction News--March 1998

Officers Use Technology to Work More Closely With Police

Probation officers in Hendersonville have learned to love their computers and they’re helping prepare the way for the rest of us.

Using laptop computers and adapting common software, they’ve set up a system that helps officers. It also links the probation office with the sheriff’s department, police department, district attorney’s office, day reporting center and other criminal justice agencies in town. The project known as JWAN, the Justice Wide Area Network, is funded through a grant from the Governor’s Crime Commission.

Officers have electronic access to offenders’ files and enter their reports electronically. They have access to the Internet and groupwise, an e-mail and communications tool. The computer technology increases the officers mobility and provides a legible offender record that can easily be reviewed by supervisors.

"The system allows you to chain narratives from three years ago to the current case," said Randy Eggen, Judicial District Manager. "That allows the officer to deal up front with issues that occurred under previous supervision."

Officers are putting in more time maintaining offender reports. But Eggen says that’s a result of the narratives being more meaningful and available to others in the office.

JWAN allows officers to electronically share photos of probationers with other law enforcment agencies. The system also has a search engine that searches various physical characteristics and provides photos of offenders who match that description. Eventually, it will allow officers to provide other law enforcement agencies information on probationers who are under curfew, subject to warrantless searches or are sex offenders.

A long term goal of JWAN is to provide baseline information for using the Internet to provide more information and greater mobility for officers.

"Our future is offering this system through a secure intranet. This will make the system easeir to maintain and much less expensive," Eggen said. "The vision of DAPP leadership and the technical assistance from MIS made this project possible." u

Visit JWAN on the www

NC DOC Correction News- March 1998
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