Conference on Crimes Against Women: Training, Strategies, and Practical Instruction for Responders and Victim Advocates

By Tim Lott

Did you happen to catch the powerful Super Bowl domestic violence PSA that showed there’s more than one way to seek help during a crisis? In this chilling 60-second clip, viewers witness a phone conversation between a domestic violence victim and a 9-1-1 operator. As we listen to the victim try to “order a pizza for delivery,” we see traces of a desperate struggle, including a hole punched into a wall of her home. The 9-1-1 operator catches on that something’s amiss and quickly turns the conversation around in order to determine that 1) the victim needs assistance, 2) she is not alone, and 3) there are no weapons in the house.

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Photos from the 2015 Winter Membership Meeting

SEARCH wrapped up its 2015 Winter Membership Group Meeting last week in Austin, Texas. The meeting, held January 27–29, featured presentations and discussions on a range of technical, operational and policy issues affecting justice information sharing. Attending were SEARCH Members, Staff and stakeholders from a variety of federal, state and local agencies and national organizations.

SEARCH’s 2015 Winter Meeting kicked off with the presentation of flags by the Region 7 Honor Guard of the Texas Department of Public Safety.

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Law Enforcement Making Strides in Investigating Peer-to-Peer Networks for Child Pornography

By Don Lewis

Peer-to-Peer Overview

P2P software allows computer users, connected to the Internet, to share files with other users. Files can include music, graphics, images, movies, and text.

Music is what most people associate with P2P networks, but it only accounts for about 15% of traffic; video files account for over 50%. P2P file sharing networks are frequently used to trade digital files of child pornography.

A centralized P2P network relies on a central server to process requests from the peers.

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Chats, Posts and Texts: Finding Their Place in a Court of Law

By Justin Fitzsimmons

By now, most of us have heard of cases where law enforcement professionals found incriminating evidence on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter and then used that evidence to gain a conviction in court. 

Anyone who watches NCIS would think this is standard operating procedure in police work today. Indeed, the recent Survey of Law Enforcement Personnel and Their Use of Social Media (conducted by LexisNexis® Risk Solutions 2014) supports that. This survey of the law enforcement community shows that eight out of 10 law enforcement professionals actively use social media as a tool in investigations. 

But the waters run murky when it comes to presenting this digital evidence in a courtroom.

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SEARCH Partners with APPA, ICAOS to Develop and Pilot Adult Offender Information Exchange for Law Enforcement

Thousands of adult probationers and parolees are transferred across state lines every year.  Some of the transferees are potentially dangerous or high-risk—and notifying local law enforcement in the receiving state of these offender transfers can raise officer awareness and safety.

SEARCH partnered with the American Probation and Parole Association (APPA) and the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision (ICAOS) to develop and pilot a new information exchange that uses state fusion centers to provide offender transfer notifications to local law enforcement agencies.

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How do States Handle Bulk Sales of Public Criminal History Data? SEARCH Surveys Membership to Gauge State Practices

View or download the bulk data sale survey results

SEARCH staff recently conducted an informal survey of our Membership Group to gauge how different states handle the bulk sale of public criminal history data. Thirty states responded, with the majority of those reporting that they do not offer bulk sales of these records. 

The survey was conducted by Becki Goggins, SEARCH Director of Law and Policy, who provided the following survey highlights:

  • When asked whether their state provides bulk criminal history sales, respondents reported the following:
    • 8 (or 27.6%) said “yes”
    • 19 (or 65.5%) said “no”
    • 2 (or 6.9%) said “unknown”
    • 1 did not provide an answer
  • When asked which agencies provide bulk sales, respondents reported the following:
    • The same agency that hosts the state’s criminal history records repository – 5 states
    • State Administrative Office of Courts – 3 states
    • Local Law Enforcement Agencies – 2 states
    • Local Courts – 2 states
    • State Corrections Agency – 1 state
    • Local Corrections Agencies – 0 states
    • Other Agencies – 0 states
  • When asked how agencies determine prices for bulk data sales, respondents reported the following:
    • 4 states reported charging a standard fee per request
    • 1 state reported allowing “gateway purchases,” whereby end-users purchase records through a database interface 

Access to criminal history record information maintained by the states is governed by the laws of the individual states, and the level of access and methods of dissemination vary by state.  For specific details on community notification services and access to records, see Table 7a in Survey of State Criminal History Information Systems, 2012 (PDF), a national survey compiled and analyzed by SEARCH and published by the U.S.

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