Organizing the Data

A crucial step in creating an arrest alert system is organizing the data. For ease of managing information, setting up notifications, and generating reports, the system should be able to categorize arrestees and their alerts. In many jurisdictions, when an arrest occurs, the accused is fingerprinted by a local law enforcement agency. Fingerprints are sent to a central database which matches them to a unique identification number or assigns the individual a new number in the case of a first-time arrest. When accessing the arrest data, the prosecutor’s office should also receive this identification number, along with the arrest information.

Associating a priority individual’s identification number with a group or folder system may increase effectiveness. As described in the example below,the ability to categorize and subcategorize an identification number can help prosecutors’ offices organize and access large amounts of arrest data.

The Manhattan D.A.’s Office’s Arrest Alert system database, available at each prosecutor’s desktop, is organized into three different categories: My Alerts (e.g., a specific homicide case), Pre-Defined Alerts (e.g., bench warrants, open cases), and Team Alerts (e.g., Manhattan gangs). Within each category there are three levels of folders (e.g., Manhattan gangs > Gang ABC > Confirmed) under which an identification number (priority individual) can be housed. An individual can be located in multiple folders (e.g., individual X could be in an open cases folder, in a folder as a suspect in a specific homicide, in a particular gang folder, and in a housing location folder). For an example, view the screenshot below.