Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2015, $539,891)
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 the 2015 NCHIP award, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) will use funds to support the Expungement/Search Dispositions/Scanning, NCIC and AFIS Audit/Training and Livescan Replacement projects.
Under this award, funds will be used for staff support to ensure timely and accurate reporting of dispositions, expungements, and sealed records. Expungements (i.e. the destruction or obliteration of criminal records relating to an arrest or a conviction under specified limited circumstances) are an important topic in South Carolina and a legislative committee has been formed to study the process of removing expungements in the state. While SLED does not currently have a backlog of expungements, there are nearly 7,000 expungements received monthly requiring action. In the last fiscal year, 84,583 expungements were processed. Processing expungements in a timely manner is important, at the state and federal level. Removing the charge from an individuals criminal history will ensure accurate information for criminal investigations but also to make determinations for licensing and employment purposes and ensure accurate information is available to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) via the Interstate Identification Index (III). Funds will be used to support staff efforts to expunge qualifying records or charges which, in turn, will aid NICS in determining an individuals eligibility to purchase or possess a firearm.
As the Control Terminal Agency for the state of South Carolina, SLED is responsible for ensuring compliance with NCIC and AFIS requirements. As part of this responsibility the FBI authorizes and requires triennial compliance audit for all agencies which have direct access to this data exchange ensuring that compliance for rules, regulations and policies are being met within SLED and the FBI. To assist with this effort, SLED will use funds to support an auditor/trainer position to ensure compliance with NCIC requirements for local criminal justice and noncriminal justice agencies as it pertains to the exchange and receipt of criminal justice information. With the duties of the auditor/trainer position approved through the NCHIP 2014 grant, SLED has updated NCIC training/testing materials on the NEXTEST online access for law enforcement/civil agencies and updated policies and procedures for all law enforcement agencies to ensure proper compliance with SLED/FBI requirements. The audit process is still very new to the non-criminal justice agencies and a dedicated non-criminal justice agency auditor/trainer is required.
SLED will also use funds to purchase updated Livescan systems for several high volume agencies across the state.