In today’s world of increasing case loads and corresponding data, an inter-departmental and even inter-unit database can make investigations easier and more efficient.
A medium-to-large city forensic science center processes thousands of case records annually. These records typically contain information relating to investigative, biological, trace, impression, and firearms evidence.With today’s ever-increasing case loads, the management, traceability, cross-referencing, and wide-scope accessibility of these records is imperative.
Moreover, the informational need-to-know extends well beyond the confines of the forensic science center. It encompasses investigating detectives, district attorneys, probation and parole, crime analysts, and other law enforcement personnel all of whom require instantaneous access to case records, evidence processing status and results, and AFIS and/or CODIS identifications. Having to phone in for case status and identification information is both slow and inefficient. Even databases within the science center itself can no longer be autonomous; in today’s forensic science facility, interunit database access is vital.
These needs are currently being fulfilled for the Albuquerque Police Department (APD) and the Crime Laboratory through a custom designed, Intranet-based system known as ICRIIS (pronounced “I-CHRIS”), an acronym for Integrated Criminal Investigation and Identification System.
Although off-the-shelf systems are typically turnkey, for those facilities willing to make the investment, a customized system permits users and administrators to express and incorporate their operational and data content needs based on the historical usage and expressed shortfalls of prior and existing systems. ICRIIS is the result of such a design.
It is important when implementing a customized system to take into account the portability and migration of data to other systems. With that in mind, the entire ICRIIS database can be exported to a CSV (Excel) formatted file.
ICRIIS consists of three major operational tiers: the Intranet Server, the client, and the Internet. At the Intranet server level, the ICRIIS kernel is wrapped in a security shell named Sentinel. Sentinel authenticates and controls access to the operational programs that comprise the ICRIIS system. Each ICRIIS user is assigned a unique user name and password, with associated privileges that gate access to a given database(s) while additionally establishing their user permissions—read-only for users, and read-write for database administrators.