Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2017, $424,011)
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 2017 NCHIP priority area 2 that addresses automating access to information concerning persons prohibited from possessing or receiving firearm and transmitting relevant records the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NC DPS), will coordinate the project to locate and enter mental health commitment cases (SPCs) for up to 27 years prior to the automated reporting date to NICS. This project has been successful in prior NCHIP funded years and the state has determined the project is a priority for the state. The project will use 6 part-time record management specialists to travel to Clerks of Superior Court Offices throughout the state to review and automate relevant records. The specialists will also begin digitizing records to ensure a seamless integration with the Enterprise Information Management System (EIMS). Based on results from previous projects, the DPS anticipates 9,000 additional hours can be committed to this 18 month project which requires traveling to the number of counties remaining that need their records automated. The part-time employees will have the benefit of collaboration and technical assistance from permanent Business Systems Analyst staff and a Field Manager. The NC Administrative Officer for the Court (NCAOC) will also continue working with elected Clerks of Superior Court to determine when the part-time employees can travel to their office for review and entry of information to minimize courthouse disruptions.
NC has more than 100 counties and 52,000 square miles to cover for reviewing the case files in question. In-person review of files is required and PT records management specialists travel extensively throughout the state to make an in-person assessment of confidential material. Record management specialists will operate with a procedure to finish reviewing all files in a county before moving to a new site. A county may require multiple visits across multiple weeks by as many as 6 records management specialist during the 18-month project period. The project is budgeted for 64 trips for the records management specialists. The part-time records management specialists are selected based on their prior experience as deputy clerks with specialized training that gives them the ability to review confidential cases and make a determination. During the same time, clerk of superior court staff will be paid for overtime hours performing the same file review, data entry, file digitization, and auditing tasks.
The NC DPS has estimated that 900,000 files between 1986 and 2013 can be reviewed and entered in a timely manner using the records management specialists and overtime hours for clerk of superior court staff. Furthermore, the case file digitization process will provide a critical foundation for the EIMS. The goals and benefits of the project include increased reporting of mental health commitments to NICS, faster research time for gun permit requests, and greater availability of mental health data for determination of gun permit issuance. The NC DPS also intends to explore new automated integration opportunities to transmit other details to further enhance the information available to NICS. (CA/NCF)