Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2020, $654,336)
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 Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice (CCJJ) will transfer funds to the Utah Department of Public Safety (DPS) to improve public safety in the state by enhancing the quality, completeness, and accessibility of criminal history record information. Grant funds are being requested to continue to research and update missing court dispositions to ensure availability through the Utah Criminal History (UCH) system and accessibility at the time of a national background check. The disposition research project builds on the success of the 1989 through 2019 research efforts that have increased the felony disposition reporting rate to over 85 percent. Additional resources are being allocated to this function to ensure that the felony reporting rate remains high. The ongoing research of missing current and historical dispositions is still needed to assure accountability from agencies and overall accuracy of the criminal history data. DPS still has the need to maintain a training program to deal with the issues leading to failed disposition reporting at both local law enforcement agencies and the courts. Disposition training and research also serves the purpose of making courts and local law enforcement agencies throughout Utah continuously aware of the importance of accurate and complete reporting of dispositions. Additional training, with an emphasis on fingerprinting, will be provided to local criminal justice personnel responsible for submitting data to the UCH.
DPS will also use funds to gain and maintain ownership of Utahs records by becoming a member of the National Fingerprint File (NFF). Personnel will be hired to research Utah records under the control of the FBI and transition legacy records to the NIST format. A flag will be added to the record once research has been completed. Programming of the UCH will be required to facilitate the retention and search of single-print citations and to ensure the states smooth transition into the NFF program.
Funds are also being requested to cover travel expenses for monitoring activities and staff to attend a conference or training focused on improving criminal history information, dispositions, and research. The CCJJ program manager will conduct periodic in-person site visits with sub-grantees throughout the lifetime of the grant.