When I became commissioner in March of this year, the Kentucky State Police had a backlog at its drug lab of over 8,000 cases, had not published a Crime in Kentucky statistics report in two years, and was significantly hampered by an outdated system of crime data collection, screening and reporting. By early June the backlog at the lab had virtually been eliminated and we had published the 2001 Crime in Kentucky Report containing over 100,000 hand-screened Uniform Crime Reports.
After addressing the more pressing lab problem, greater focus was placed on the Crime In Kentucky Report. By moving employees, starting a second shift and hiring temporary workers, we focused our resources to address the mountainous task of acquiring, hand screening and compiling over 119,000 uniform crime reports for the 2002 report.
The 2002 report has now been completed and the 2003 report will be published by December 1, 2004.
Without casting blame on the previous administration, it appears that much of the problem originated from an outdated data collection system. The Kentucky State Police has now developed the Kentucky Open Portal System (KYOPS) to assist us and any interested law enforcement agency in both collecting data and submitting it for the Crime In Kentucky Report. KYOPS is being provided at no cost and no maintenance fee to any requesting law enforcement agency. The Kentucky State Police also provides training on this system at no cost. The system will serve two important law enforcement needs. First is the collection of data for agencies that do not have their own records management system. Second, for all agencies including those with their own records management system, KYOPS will allow for daily reporting of crime data and the ability to query all data that is contributed to a repository.
For the first time ever in Kentucky, this system will allow contributing agencies to analyze, assess and query a pool of data that is far more up to date and useful to law enforcement than any annual report could be. The new system will allow agencies to submit data much more easily and retrieve data that is specific to their needs at any time. This system will also electronically screen all submissions for errors or omissions thus eliminating a substantial amount of hand screening now being done.
This new system will be a major improvement for law enforcement agencies in Kentucky. Colonel Peggy Emmington, Assistant Chief of the Jeffersontown Police Department and President of the Kentucky Association of Chiefs of Police, is very excited about the progress this new system represents and has been very complimentary of the Kentucky State Police for developing a system that will speed up local agencies’ submissions of uniform crime reports while at the same time allowing them to query the database for crime trends in their jurisdictions and elsewhere.
Keith Cain, Sheriff of Daviess County and President of the Kentucky Sheriff’s Association, also believes the new system will be a significant improvement over the present system and an excellent new tool for law enforcement agencies to have access to much more timely data than is available in the annual report.
The Kentucky State Police’s old system was technologically outdated, labor intensive and unable to produce annual reports, much less the far more useful daily, weekly or monthly data. Instead of band-aiding the old system and using precious resources on an outdated system, we have taken the strategic approach to use those resources for developing new software and field testing a new Records Management System that will significantly increase the ability of law enforcement agencies to manage data and dramatically improve our ability to produce the Crime in Kentucky Report in a timely and useful fashion. It will reduce the burden of data submission of local agencies and, for the first time ever in Kentucky, give them the ability to query much more up-to-date data from surrounding areas on crime trends.
The development of the software, (KYOPS), sharing the system at no cost, providing training free of charge, using the system along with a new records management system to create a much more up-to-date data pool for use by all law enforcement agencies, WHEN THEY NEED IT, NOT JUST ON July 15th (the date the annual report is required to be published) represents the new way of handling crime data at the Kentucky State Police.