Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2018, $1,460,169)
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 2018 NCHIP priority areas, the Maine Department of Public Safety (MDPS), Maine State Police (MSP), State Bureau of Identification (SBI) will use NCHIP funds for four projects: 1) the support of the new AFIS System; 2) Replace Livescan devices; 3) Converting Criminal History Records to Electronic Format; and 4) Correcting Court Records.
1) AFIS Support: The SBI is part of a Tri-state AFIS system with New Hampshire and Vermonts State Police Identification Bureaus. The three states share one AFIS system which was outdated and failing. Prior NCHIP funds in FY2015 and FY2017 were used towards the initiation of the AFIS project. The SBI has negotiated with the current vendor on a 10-year payment plan for a new NGI-compatible, NCIC compatible AFIS. The NCHIP funds will assist Maine in the purchase of the AFIS by funding the next payment of the plan. The new AFIS is currently in place and live. The FY2018 NCHIP funds will help with the burden of cost for the AFIS for purchasing the equipment and annual payment with the vendor.
2) Livescan Replacement: Currently, there are many outdated and failing Livescans located across the state that need to be replaced. The SBI will use NCHIP funds to replace 5 Livescans at identified locations. The locations are the 5 highest priority Livescans that need to be replaced based on average fingerprints submissions each year plus the geographical location of the devices. The five locations are: Portland, Rockland, Bangor, Caribou, and Auburn. The upgrade in Livescans across the state will ensure a more efficient and effective processing of fingerprint and information on the state and federal level, including qualifying records submitted to the NICS.
3) Converting Criminal History Records to Electronic Format: SBI will convert all old files from paper to an easy-to-use electronic format through a two-prong approach: 1) A day-forward approach will be placing scanning devices at the desks of all SBI staff to scan all relevant paperwork they may handle during the day. SBI staff will research the file and determine if the subject already exists electronically. If the subject does exist, the file will be scanned and be connected electronically to the new electronic file; 2) Overtime hours to complete the bulk of scanning and connecting of existing backlogged files is the 2nd approach. Before scanning, the SBI staff will complete quality checking of the file for completeness and either starting a new file or attaching it to an existing file.
4) Correcting Court Records: The Maine Judicial Branch (MJB) will use NCHIP funds to conduct individual file research, and to correct criminal court records that the Courts sent to SBI, but were rejected by SBI as the files did not meet the standards for records submission as established by the FBI. Due to the number of cases and the number of persons handling data entry, errors occur on the files which then get rejected by SBI and sent back to the court which are now backlogged. The current electronic system is old with limitations, so an individual must review each of the records to review and correct the errors. Once corrected, the record can be forwarded to SBI for further reporting to federal systems.