The police were early adopters of computer database technology. In the United States the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) was established in 1967; police records were subsequently computerized and made available to police agencies throughout the country. The NCIC’s database enables local police departments to apprehend offenders who might otherwise evade capture. The database contains fingerprints, a registry of sexual offenders, and mug shots, and it can be queried for detailed information on stolen vehicles and warrants for firearms violations; it can even search for phonetically similar names. Similar databases maintained by U.S. states provide police with access to misdemeanor warrants, driver-citation [pic]records, and vehicle-ownership [pic]information.
The European Union (EU) established a computerized [pic]information system—the Schengen Information System (SIS)—which allows the authorities of certain member states, plus some other European countries, to send or receive data about criminals, missing persons, stolen property, and other matters of interest to law enforcement officers. Each member of the EU, however, must devise its own computerized system to connect to the SIS. The European Police Office (Europol) also maintains a computerized database. In addition, Interpol manages databases of fingerprints, DNA profiles, and [pic]information on stolen property and other matters, which member countries can retrieve through a global police- communications system known as I-24/7.
Computer-assisted-dispatch (CAD) systems, such as the 911 system in the United States, are used not only to dispatch police quickly in an emergency but also to gather data on every person who has contact with the police. [pic]Information in the CAD database generally includes call volume, time of day, types of calls, response time, and the disposition of every call. The Enhanced 911 (E911) system, adopted in the United States, instantly identifies the...
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