Orange County Sheriff's Department Computerized Central Juvenile Index

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<ul><li><p>Orange County Sheriffs Department Computerized Central Juvenile Index </p><p>By ROBERT E. GRIFFETH </p><p>Introduction Orange County, an area originally part of </p><p>Los Angeles County, became a separate polit- ical entity on March 11, 1889. Geographi- cally bounded by Los Angeles County on the northwest, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties on the northeast, San Diego County on the southeast and the Pacific Ocean on the southwest. The County en- compasses 800 square miles of which 575 square miles are habitable. Between 1950 and 1970, the population in the county increased from 226,700 to 1,430,000. In the interval between 1950 and 1955 over 225,000 people moved to Orange County. With the tre- mendous increase ofpopulation coupled with the mobility of the populus, it was apparent that law enforcement must develop new methods to meet our objectives. </p><p>In mid-1956, Sheriff James A. Musick, with several police chiefs in Orange County, recognized the need for a central agency to assume the responsibility for maintaining a file of contacts made by law enforcement of- ficers with juveniles throughout Orange </p><p>- Authors address: Lt. R.E. Griffeth Orange County Sheriffs Department P.O. Box 449 Santa Ana, California 92702 </p><p>County. Through the efforts of these people, the Central Juvenile Index (CJI) was estab- lished in the Orange County Sheriffs De- partment in 1957. The objectives of the sys- tem were to record, in one central location, complaints, street contacts, arrest and disposi- tion of juveniles. All police agencies in Orange County contributed to the system, plus the California Highway Patrol, Orange County Probation Department, Juvenile Cour t , Division of Forestry, District Attorneys Office, fire departments and schools. </p><p>The participating departments recorded the contact with the juvenile on 8 x 5 forms provided by the Sheriffs Department, named a juvenile contact report. The agency would forward this to the Sheriffs Department Cen- tral Juvenile Index by mail or in person. The index was handled manually and we found each entry was handled a minimum of three times by records personnel; when it was en- tered, when the disposition was added, and when it was p ~ r g e d . ~ Also, we found that 70 percent of the contact reports in the file were repeaters and each of these repeaters averaged five entries. In 1966,40,222 new entries were received; 1967, 42,611 and in 1968, 46,132 were received. Record check requests reached a volume of 374,000 in 1968. </p><p>Using this manually operated system, a </p><p>30 Juvenile Justice I February, 1974 </p></li><li><p>ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT COMPUTERIZED CENTRAL JUVENILE INDEX </p><p>patrol officer in the field would spend 12 to 20 minutes detaining a juvenile on the street to complete a Central Juvenile Index record check. This would consist of: </p><p>1 minute - Car to radio dispatcher 2 minutes - Transcribe and call to records </p><p>2 minutes - Records transcribe and go to file 4 minutes - Records personnel search the </p><p>index 2 minutes - Records personnel transcribe to </p><p>radio dispatcher a positive ans- wer </p><p>personnel </p><p>1 minute - Radio dispatcher to patrol unit Often this would increase, due to disruptions in the Record Bureau or Radio Dispatch Center, e.g. telephone calls, counter traffic, etc . </p><p>With the volume of new entries received, coupled with the record check requests, the human error and time restraints had reached intolerable limits. </p><p>Project Discussions within the Department regard- </p><p>ing computerizing the system began in early 1968.4 The Data Services Department of Orange County was consulted from the be- ginning and lent their entire support and ex- pertise throughout the project. When all data was gathered, it was determined that a quick retrieval system would best meet our needs and conform to legal requirements re- garding confidentiality of juvenile data in- formation. </p><p>Each Law Enforcement Agency and the Probation Department were consulted and given ample opportunity to input their needs. With these continual meetings, problems re- lated to multi-agency usage were explored and agreement was obtained. </p><p>The program was written and submitted to the California Criminal Justice Council in mid-1969. The grant was obtained under the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968. The total project cost was $45,000 of which Orange County contributed $18,000. </p><p>Project Summary: T h e comput- erized system is directed toward achieving a more efficient and effective tool for the law </p><p>enforcement officer in his handling of juvenile criminal problems. The project had measurable goals in terms of the time re- quired for information availability and the cost of obtaining such data. The project was aimed at an existing (and increasing) problem and which had an inadequate solution. </p><p>The project workload and implementation were constructed such that measurable results would be possible within a reasonable amount of time, thus providing benefits on a short range basis. In addition, successful op- eration of this project would lay a firm found- ation for expansion of information systems within the Law Enforcement Community of Orange County. </p><p>Objectives The overall objectives of computerizing </p><p>the Orange County Central Juvenile Index was to increase the efficiency and effective- ness of this important law enforcement tool. More specifically, this objective would be sought in the following ways: </p><p>Increase the efficiency of establishing, assessing; updating and purging of juvenile data records. Minimize the allocation of personnel resources in the Sheriffs Department Records Division by eliminating or re- ducing telephone inquiries in prepara- tion of Central Juvenile Index reports. An extremely important object of the project is the creation and maintenance of Central Juvenile Index statistical in- formation. This information is available on-line to all participants of the system and will prove useful in establishing ju\~enile crime statistics and trends (i.e. types of crimes, volume, location, age, and sex data). A corollory objective of the system will be to reduce the amount of time a juvenile citizen is detained by an officer in the field pending a Central Juvenile Index record check. Achievement ofthis objective will make record checks more feasible for the field officer, thus en- couraging him to make more checks in border-line cases. This increase in rec- ord checks would most likely lead to </p><p>February, 1974 I Juvenile Justice 31 </p></li><li><p>ROBERT E. GRIFFETH </p><p>more hits in the file. .$ctions of the officer based on coniplete and accurate information, would enable him to make better decisions 3s to the immediate dis- position of the juvenile citizen. </p><p>Department obtained a video terminal and inputs probation violation information only. </p><p>Inquiry Inquiry may be made by name, aliases or </p><p>nicknames, operators license number, social security number, Orange County and/or Operational </p><p>The last major item to be completed, prior to operation, was the data base conversion. Approximately 150,000 existing juvenile contact reports in the index were converted, by the use of optical character recognition equipment, to machine readable media. This was accomplished by contracting with private industry which placed their personnel and equipment within our department at a cost of $13,000. These monies were a part of the grant funds. </p><p>The Computerized Central Juvenile Index System was on-line and operational in March of 1971, with 150,000 subjects, mentioned above, entered into the system. Hardware consisted of three R.C.A. video data termi- nals and one R.C.A. printer. One terminal was placed at the radio dispatchers station. The other two terminals and printer were placed in the Records Division. </p><p>Designed primarily as a quick retrieval system only basic data on the individual is entered. This data consists of: name, aliases or nickname, address, birthdate, sex, race, place of birth, marks or scars, physical de- scription, vehicle description, if any, operators license number, social security number, Orange County number and/or juvenile court number. In addition, the charge, date of offense, department or agency submitting, that departments case number and disposition is included. Wanted subjects may be entered also. For quality control the computer is programmed not to accept a new entry unless the name, date ofbirth, reporting agency, offense and disposition is furnished. </p><p>Recognizing problems associated with ac- curacy procedures for inputing new entries and updating existing entries rests solely with the Sheriffs Department Records Division, (specifically several trained female clerks). Subsequently the Orange County Probation </p><p>juvenile court number, or case number. Present process of inquiry, by law enforce- ment agencies, is via teletype, phone (has to be called back) or by in-person contact with the Sheriffs Department Records Division. However, seven police agencies are in the process of obtaining video terminals and will have the capability of going on-line and generating their own inquiries. </p><p>When inquiry is made by law enforcement or probation, only the basic data, as men- tioned, is received. The recipient of the in- quiry receives only the submitting agency name, charge, their case number and disposi- tion. Further inquiry, if necessary, may then be directed to the initiating agency for review of the case file. Our experience and research indicates that, at the police level, this basic data is sufficient for the decision-making pro- cess. Probation officers most often are the ones that find it necessary to follow up and contact the submitting agencies for case re- ports to aid them and the Juvenile Court in adjudicating the present matter. </p><p>Confidentiality Confidentiality of juvenile records, both </p><p>legal and social, is a particular issue. Privacy of court proceedings and secrecy of informa- tion are basic to the courts objectives of avoiding stigma and improving rather than worsening the offenders (juvenile) chance to succeed in society. Sound ethics, coupled with legislation and court decisions, re- mained uppermost in the minds of the pro- grammers while developing the system. </p><p>Accessibility to the system is limited to those agencies with video terminals. All other inquiries are made via the Sheriffs Depart- ment. When a video terminal is placed in an agency, the terminal is internally keyed (pro- grammed) to have access to the on-line </p><p>32 Juvenile Justice I February, 1974 </p></li><li><p>ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFFS DEPARTMENT COMPUTERIZED CENTRAL JUVENILE INDEX </p><p>Juvenile Index. Without the proper keyed identification the computer will not accept the inquiry. For example, many ofthe county government departments have video termi- nals and are on-line to the same computer. However, if an operator at one of these termi- nals had the correct code and attempted to inquire into the juvenile index portion of the computer, the computer would not accept the question. Further, at the end of each month, the Sheriffs Department receives a print-out of all terminal inquiries. An unau- thorized inquiry would be indicated, naming the terminal and its location, and if neces- sary, department personnel would contact that agency and investigate the circumstances of the misuse. </p><p>Purging: Strict attention was directed to the purging component of the program to coincide with legal and ethical standards. </p><p>The California Welfare and Institutions code is the document that contains the law which governs the handling and processing of juvenile offenders. For our purpose here, the sections which are most vital are: Sections 600, 601 and 602. Section 600 describes a dependant child such as: a victim of child abuse: no parent or guardian to exercise con- trol, etc. Section 601 describes those youths referred to as pre-delinquent, such as, runaways, incorrigibles, truants, etc., and Section 602 covers any juvenile who violates any federal or state law; county or city ordi- nance. An entry under Section 600 is au- tomatically purged from the computer when the person reaches his 18th birthdate. Entries under Section 601 are purged at age 18, un- less the person is presently on a probation status, then purging is accomplished at the conclusion of the probation status or age 24, whichever comes first. Finding that delin- quents (Section 602) have a higher recidivism rate than other groups, and do not cease their activity at age 18, all agencies involved in the original programming agreed that these en- tries should be stored until age 24. This has already proven valuable to probation officers in case study reports to the court when the person has reached majority. Extensive in- quiries of this component were made with </p><p>samplings of known juvenile offenders who subsequently had reached their 18th birth- days. This testing was done independently by data services programmers, Sheriffs Depart- ment personnel, and probation officers, and proved to be accurate and reliable. </p><p>The weakest link in this security chain is not the video terminals nor the computer, but the persons who receive the information. We must constantly train and be able to rely upon these persons to be professional when in pos- session of such vital information: violations must be sought out and handled swiftly and fir in1 y . </p><p>Benefits From the day of operational status, objec- </p><p>tives of the system were tabulated on a monthly basis and reviewed by sheriffs and data services personnel for program achievement. During the first months, test- ing of the program and components of the system resulted in minor procedural changes in entering and updating information and with the programming of the computers counting of entries. </p><p>Management Tool: Statistical reports are automatically printed at the end of each calendar month and contain all entries and their disposition. The report is separated into the Welfare and Institutions Code Sections (600, 601 and 602) and each sub-category those sections govern. For example, under Section 602 appear all part one and part two crimes - county and city ordinances. Be- yond the offense and disposition headings the report records age groupings and sex data in the proper categories. Each law enforcement agency receives a print-out, however, this re- port will contain only totals of that agencys input. The Sheriffs Department receives its own activity, plus the activity of the entire system. </p><p>These reports have proved their value as an aid in budgeting, field patrol activity, and most importantly, in areas of crime preven- tion programs. </p><p>Time - Cost Savings: Placing a video terminal at the radio dispatch station </p><p>February, 1974 I Juvenile Justice 33 </p></li><li><p>ROBERT E. GRIFFETH </p><p>I ~ - , I I K X Y I tiiiic rcstraints for field record checks t l i ; ib t icu l ly . This has been tested and proved I I1 us: </p><p>60 seconds - C a r to radio dispatcher 25 seconds - Typed into terminal </p><p>5 seconds - Receive answer 60 seconds - Dispatcher to car </p><p>From the 12 to 20 minutes waiting time with t...</p></li></ul>