Coordinating With Law Enforcement and Information Technology Teams to Access Arrest Data

To access arrest data, planners should determine how their local criminal justice identification process works, who manages the associated systems,and what type of network the data transfer process would require.

Accessing arrest data from law enforcement is a key step in implementing an arrest alert system. This data might be processed and stored by several law enforcement agencies in a given area. Some prosecutors’ offices might have to obtain information from one or more local police departments, while others might have additional agencies processing arrest data, such as a state or local criminal justice coordinating agency or a sheriff’s office. In these cases, the prosecutor’s office will have to coordinate with multiple offices to obtain this data.

In addition to law enforcement buy-in, accessing arrest data requires collaboration between the prosecutor’s office’s information technology team and the other relevant agencies’ information technology teams. This collaboration is key to ensure that sharing arrest data is seamless and the information is transmitted swiftly and accurately. It is important for the information technology teams to participate in the planning process in order to ensure that the information is in a usable format and the transfer is efficient. For information on how to develop the technology for an arrest alert system, see the fact sheet “Creating an Arrest Alert System: Developing the Technology.”

The Manhattan D.A.’s Office worked closely with the NYPD to understand how arrest data was processed and how to access that data. When a person is arrested in New York City, the NYPD transmits an electronic copy of fingerprints to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services, which then accesses and updates the arrestee’s criminal history (if any) and returns the arrestee’s New York State Identification Number and full criminal history to the police. The NYPD sends the Manhattan D.A.’s Office a data feed that contains information about each new arrest. To make this information available to prosecutors in a timely and useful manner, the Manhattan D.A.’s Office’s information technology department created the Arrest Alert system, which formatted the information provided through this data feed into a system that could send alerts. The head of the Manhattan D.A.’s Office’s information technology department was the project manager for the creation of the Arrest Alert interactive desktop application and the receipt of the NYPD data feed.