Located in San Jose, California, CrimeStar Corporation produces one the most widely used law enforcement organization information systems. The CrimeStar integrated system includes CrimeStar Record Management System (RMS), CrimeStar Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD) and CrimeStar Mobile Digital Communicator (MCD). The CrimeStar RMS is a system which includes a fully functional relational database system which takes full advantage of the features and capabilities of Visual FoxPro in a local area network setting. Inherent in this system design is the flexibility to work with Microsoft Windows Server System, Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0, Microsoft SQL Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Server, Microsoft Windows XP as well as Microsoft Internet Explorer.
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The CrimeStar suite is designed to work with police departments of all sizes include two basic implementations—one for police departments with thirty (30) or fewer officers and one for departments larger than thirty police officers. All of these implementations are designed to work on Pentium based computers with the capability of displaying graphics at 1024 x 768 resolution. The CrimeStar RMS includes components to record information about the following:
- Traffic Accidents.
- Animal Control Issues.
- Perpetrator arrest and booking including digital mug shots.
- Registrations for firearms and bicycles.
- Amber alerts.
- Case Management.
- Traffic and Criminal Citations.
- Tracking and administration of subpoenas and restraining orders.
- Community Policing Events.
- Department Asset Inventory using a barcode system.
- Vehicle maintenance scheduling for all departmental vehicles.
- Investigative Field Interviews.
- Incident/Crime Reports.
- The management of commissary transactions, meals, medical information and visitor information Jail/Custody Management.
- Master Name Index.
- Master Location Index.
- Master Vehicle Index.
- Pawn Shop Transactions.
- Personnel and Training.
- Photo Lineups.
- Management of property and evidence located within the department using a barcode system.
- Management of sex, narcotic and arson registry.
- Uniform Crime Reporting.
- Maintenance of warrant system (CrimeStar Corporation, 2007).
The CAD system is utilized to provide a real-time environment for dealing with 911 emergency calls and the dispatch of the appropriate staff to handle those calls. This system has inherent functionality to track all of the activities related to answering emergency calls and coordinates services between the police, fire and emergency medical services. In designing this system one of the most important features is the real time capability.
This feature is vital in the dispatch and coordination of emergency services and is made possible through the Visual FoxPro or SQL server database. The use of Visual FoxPro or SQL server is dependent on the size of the department using this technology and other implementation specifications. Additionally, when the appropriate authorities have completed their response to the 911 emergency call, the appropriate reporting is generated (Nine Eleven Software, 2007).
Finally, the MCD application is utilized by field officers in an attempt to allow for the silent dispatch for 911 emergency calls. In so doing, the field units can view and respond to call data and comment on active calls in real time. This feature proves to be important in that the immediate entry of data has implications for the accuracy in reporting. Additionally, the visual mapping of an area is an integral part of the MCD application.
This feature enables the real-time tracking of field units as well as the ability to dynamically update the digital images in both CAD and other MDC workstations while the field units are in the process of conducting their normal course of activities. Essentially, there is a seamless integration of all components in managing the information needs of the entire police department (Nine Eleven Software, 2007).
CrimeStar addresses global interconnectivity in its intrinsic scalability and flexibility of use. It can be utilized in a stand-alone environment as well as a networked environment. In so doing, the information contained in its relational database system can be easily transmitted to police departments throughout the world in a format that is accessible to those departments. This is one of the most important features of CrimeStar’s suite of products. It’s ability to run on varying software platforms—Microsoft Windows Server, Microsoft Windows 2000 Server and Windows XP serve to facilitate its global interconnectivity and ensures almost automatic information transfer between different municipalities.
One of the most significant potential for failure of this system is one which relates to hardware failure. In some cases, the implications can be very insignificant and in others they can be grave. This potential is dependent on the topology of the system in that if the system is operated as a stand alone, the ramifications of a system failure are grave. In order to prevent failure on this level, it is prudent that frequent system backups occur.
Additionally, the individual(s) in charge of the system should be well versed in computer technology and be in place to take the necessary action should a system failure occur. In police organizations where a network is utilized, there are built in measures to minimize the effects of potential hardware failures. Those systems include mirroring of databases and system redundancy in the case where Microsoft Windows Server System, Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server are utilized (CrimeStar—FAQ, 2007).
One of the most vital components of any law enforcement information system is its security. Without the built-in security functionality, the system becomes virtually useless in that it is dealing with extremely sensitive information with serious ramifications related to the safety and livelihood of the residents of a given municipality. In so doing, the information of possible crime suspects need to be safeguarded from hackers as well as other individuals who should not gain access to this information.
The security for this system relies heavily on the security measures impacted under the operating system and is an integral part of Microsoft Windows Server System, Microsoft Visual FoxPro 9.0, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft Windows 2000 Server. Within these systems, the administrator can create roles which dictate the information that an individual can view, update or both. The fact that the system works in a local network setting also indicates a higher level of security in that the likelihood of a local area network being accessed by individuals outside of the police department is very low.
Overall, the CrimeStar suite of law enforcement information systems products is one that provides the necessary functionality for police departments of any size. It is utilized by hundreds of police departments throughout the nation and provides a scalable solution which proves to be cost-effective and user-friendly. One of its strongest features is the seamless integration of a relational database, an application to easily handle the dispatching of emergency responders and a mobile communications application (Winters, 2005).
CrimeStar Corporation (2007). Police Software – CrimeStar Records Management/Investigation System. Web.
CrimeStar Corporation—FAQ (2007). CrimeStar Frequently Asked Questions. Web.
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Nine Eleven Software (2007). Computer Software for Law Enforcement. Web.
Winters, G. (2005). Village police are using cutting edge software. Winnebago, Illinois Gazette.