TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas Bureau of Investigations is revamping its crime data system, which debuted in 1993.
The agency began the revamping process this past fall, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal. It is expected to last through 2021, in time for new federal guidelines on indictment reporting.
The old system provides unspecified data like the total number of offenses reported by each agency, but research analyst Bill Reid said the Kansas Bureau of Investigations routinely gets more complex questions from lawmakers and others. KBI information services division director Leslie Moore said the agency can’t answer specific questions, like which crimes are more common and how to predict them, because the KBI can’t collect that kind of data in a streamlined way.
“It runs the gamut, basically anything that’s in the news,” Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt said of the specific questions he receives. “But we currently don’t have a way to track that because the system is so antiquated.”
The approximately 420 law enforcement agencies in Kansas don’t necessarily report statistics the same way, which affected the way the system provided information.
Less than 40 percent of the state agencies report information electronically to the KBI. Moore said because the rest of the agencies mail their crime data, there’s a large lag time and causes agency personnel to manually enter data. Bureau officials are hoping to also build a uniform reporting process to clean up how crime data is sent.
The first half of the new database is expected to be online by fiscal year 2019, and its costs will be funded by a grant of more than $570,000 given by the U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics. Bureau chief information officer Joe Mandala said the grant will cover the first two phases, the core of the system, a new database and the interface around it.
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