Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $1,772,635)
The goal of the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP) is to improve the Nation's safety and security by enhancing the quality, completeness, and accessibility of criminal history record information and by insuring the nationwide implementation of criminal justice and noncriminal justice background check systems. BJS provides direct financial and technical assistance to the states to improve criminal history and other related records and to build their infrastructure to connect to national record check systems both to supply information and to conduct the requisite checks.
Under this award, the Montana Board of Crime Control (MBCC), the state's NCHIP administering agency, will use funds to improve Montana's criminal records systems and related systems to support background checks by ensuring the infrastructure is developed to connect criminal history records systems to the state record repository or appropriate federal agency record system so records are accessible to NICS. In Montana, there are currently no electronic data exchanges between the courts and the Criminal Justice Information Network (CJIN) law enforcement agencies. Additionally, Montana law enforcement agencies do not currently have online access to court-issued No Contact orders. As such, often times law enforcement officers are unaware an order exists and thus cannot enforce it. Under the current system, Montana law enforcement agencies must deal with slow, manual, labor intensive paper processing for the entry of court issued protection orders and warrants. This includes the initial record entry, updated record modifications, record clears, record cancels, and annual record validations. Additionally, there is no statutory requirement for law enforcement agencies to enter warrants into CJIN/NCIC. MBCC will use funds to collaborate with various state agencies to implement leading-edge trial court case management capabilities through a web-based, highly flexible case management system that can be implemented centrally in one location and securely accessed by all trial courts over the Montana statewide network as well as over the Internet, which will greatly improve electronic disposition reporting and result in more accurate, timely, and complete criminal history records. The successful completion of this project will result in near real-time availability of multiple types of records and eliminate the 6-9 month backlog of records including warrants, protection orders, no contact orders, disposition information, and other NICS prohibiting records. MBCC will collaborate with the Montana Department of Corrections, the Department of Justice, the Supreme Court Office of the Court Administrator, and various law enforcement agencies, courts, and prosecutors throughout the state to complete the project tasks. (CA/NCF)