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How the Police Access Data to Obtain Criminal Information Essay

Advancement in technology has completely changed the way in which law enforcement agents obtain information, organize and make use of that information (Foster, 2005). Foster (2005) states that technology has enhanced the use of information both in strategic and tactical sense. Scientific criminal investigation is one of the earliest methods of obtaining information concerning crime and criminals. Fingerprint classification is a very good example of scientific criminal investigation. Information technology has greatly enhanced the use of fingerprints in criminal investigation (Foster, 2005).

Interviewing is the other method used by law enforcement agents to obtain information. Uncle Bob was asked a few questions by the law enforcement officer in order to collect information concerning his name, address and driving license number. All information concerning criminal activities of an individual, collected by law enforcement and which law enforcement officers have access to, is taken as privileged information (Foster, 2005). This implies that this information is for official use only. Law enforcement agencies have general access to a wide range of information of the common man that is confidential and protected by law.

The information retained by law enforcement agencies runs the spectrum from crime reports to personnel records (Pattavina, 2005). Police officers gather a great deal of information, which they preserve for a long time. Majority of the law enforcement agencies in the United States have computerized files and criminal records. This implies that most of the law enforcement officers in the country have access to computerized criminal histories (Pattavina, 2005). Criminal justice information systems contain all information collected in and used in the criminal justice system.

This information include: state drivers’ license records, privately gathered information and personal data in addition to court transcripts of testimony. Police records on the other hand deal with information gathered, preserved as well as organized by the police (Foster, 2005). A fully integrated law enforcement record management system has the capacity to access to all other records preserved by different criminal justice organizations. The Florida police department was able to obtain information concerning the weight, height, and criminal history of uncle Bob because its record management system is fully integrated.

A fully integrated record management system is made up of various smaller systems whose main role is to exchange information with a master server (Foster, 2005). Law enforcement management system, as stated by Pattavina (2005), is a comprehensive system that allows for the capture in addition to transmission of information from a wide range of sources and also allows for different types of information queries in addition to bridging law enforcement agencies to outside sources of information (Foster, 2005).

Law enforcement agencies make use of the internet to exchange information on matters of national security (Pattavina, 2005). Miami Police Department obtained criminal and personal information of uncle Bob through the internet. Communication between the police officer in the field and his agency was enhanced by the fact that law enforcement officers can access a wide range of reference manuals as well as policy in searchable online databases (Foster, 2005). The internet is one of the major technology developments that supplements law enforcement communication schemes.

Uncle Bob is likely to be charged with over speeding. It can therefore be concluded that advancement in technology has completely changed the way in which law enforcement agents obtain information, organize and make use of information. Interviewing is one of the major approaches employed by law enforcement agents to gather information. Communication between law enforcement officers in the field with their agencies as well as between different criminal justice organizations is enhanced by integration of Internet in communication system.

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