After being founded in 1969, SEARCH’s first major effort was to develop and successfully demonstrate a prototype information system in 6 states for the interstate exchange of criminal history records. The prototype system eventually encompassed 20 states and in a very real sense was the forerunner of the Interstate Identification Index—the nation’s system for exchange criminal histories (“rap sheets”) in the U.S., a system that came online in 1983 and is maintained by the FBI.
In developing that demonstration system, it became clear to SEARCH that security, privacy and confidentiality issues regarding criminal justice information require special attention—its early efforts including publication in 1976 of Technical Report No. 13, which established model standards that governed the collection, maintenance and dissemination of criminal history records. Since then, SEARCH has been a key participant and leader in virtually every major national initiative to improve the quality, accuracy, timeliness, and availability of criminal history record information (CHRI).
SEARCH continues to use its experience and national leadership to address a wide range of legal, policy and operational issues relating to criminal history records, and to assist justice agencies, law- and policy-makers, and others in these broad areas: