Friday, December 07, 2007

NCIS Unveils New Crime-Fighting Computer System

WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) and other local law enforcement officials unveiled a crime-fighting computer system Nov. 28 at the Washington Navy Yard.

The Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LInX) is a database that allows more than 60 state and local police agencies in the D.C. area to share mug shot and crime reports.

Prior to the system coming online, departments had to call or visit one another to get information on suspects. With LInX in place, all of the information is stored in a database available 24/7.

"We are as excited about LInX as we were about DNA and automated fingerprints," said Arlington Police Chief M. Douglas Scott.

Following the bombing of the USS Cole (DDG 67) in 2000 and the Sept. 11 terrorist attack, the service launched the system to better protect naval installations and personnel.

"We need to know what our local (law enforcement) counterparts know if we're going to safeguard this country from terrorism," said Michael Dorsey, a special agent at NCIS, and LInX program manager.

Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said local law enforcement officials desired such a system after 9/11 and the sniper shootings in 2002.

The Naval service and the Department of Homeland Security spent the $2.7 million for the system. Officials said that police departments do not have to pay to use the database.

Locally, about 2,000 law enforcement officers use the system, and that number is expected to double by the end of the year, officials said.

Similar systems exist in six other parts of the United States where the Navy has a presence.

The National Capital Region LInX system already contains about 6 million police mug shots and 14 million crime reports. Officials also said that the departments of Justice and Homeland Security will participate in the District area database starting next year.

"This is a crime-fighting tool that is going to make a difference in this region," said Manger.