Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2014, $1,729,086)
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 Virginia State Police (VSP), the state NCHIP administering agency, will use funds to complete three projects: 1) continue to support staff funded under prior year NCHIP funds to research felony and misdemeanor arrests to obtain and update missing court dispositions in the state Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system. In FY 2013, approximately 87.4 percent of total adult charges recorded in the repository had a final disposition on record. The goal of this effort is to have a criminal history record file that will include dispositions for 95 percent of the charges recorded. Grant-funded staff will continue to research missing Virginia dispositions, as well as researching out-of-state criminal history records. Additionally, the grant-funded staff will research the Department of Corrections probation and parole information pursuant to the governor's restoration of rights initiative to accurately match the probation and parole data to the arrests and dispositions reflected on the criminal history record; 2) support staff efforts to convert about 70 million images on microfilm and 621,412 images on microfiche to digital documents and begin using a "day forward" document management system. As the repository, VSP has received hundreds of thousands of documents pertaining to arrest and disposition information. These microfiche images were placed into cellophane microfiche jackets that could be manually pulled and viewed under a magnifying camera by the Virginia State Police Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division staff. These cellophane microfiche jackets are deteriorating due to age and the technology used to view these images is outdated and becoming obsolete. The company that maintains the microfilm/microfiche readers (used to view the microfilm/microfiche images), has informed VSP that once the cameras become inoperable there are no replacements available. In addition, the VSP has received mental health records from the courts and has produced additional arrest documents and sex offender records that were converted to about 70 million microfilm images. Converting the images to digital images will ensure the records are available for firearm background check purposes; and 3) work with the Supreme Court of Virginia (SCV) to equip courts with the requisite equipment to scan mental commitment orders and protective orders and store them on a server to allow VSP access to view, download, and/or print them them 24 hours a day/7 days a week. SCV has been working on the Mental Commitment Imaging Portal, which consists of two applications: (1) the scanning component and (2) the portal view component. This portal provides images electronically to VSP. This new system would be more efficient because the courts would scan the mental commitment orders and no longer copy and mail the mental commitment orders to the VSP. VSP would generate time savings because they would have immediate access to mental commitment orders. In the future, this scanning and storage technique for mental commitment orders could be used for other applications whereby other court orders can be stored as an image (with text searchable PDF) and accessed as a web service by authorized applications. (CA/NCF)