Pennsylvania State Police upgrade to get better data, communications

Pennsylvania State Police upgrade to get better data, communications

'The new system will be much quicker and more user-friendly,' said Mike Nagurny, director of the Pennsylvania State Police's computer operations division.

Pennsylvania State Police officers soon will enjoy dramatically expanded access to criminal data and communications as they bid farewell to obsolete technology. For 30 years, the department has relied on dumb terminals with green screens linked to a mainframe system that requires specific codes to write reports, check criminal history or perform other functions.

State Police officials signed a $1.3 million contract with Unisys Corp. for the first phase of the Commonwealth Law Enforcement Assistance Network (CLEAN) upgrade to meet the FBI's National Crime Information Center (NCIC) July deadline next year for required interoperability improvements.

Security evaluated

CLEAN's first stage includes planning and piloting a fat- client system under which the agency's Unisys Clearpath IX5602 mainframe will interface with the department's 266-MHz Intel Pentium II IBM PC 300 XL desktop PCs. Police technology workers will install Linxx 2020 from Datamaxx Applied Technologies Inc. of Tallahassee, Fla., to link the mainframe and the PCs.

State police officials want Unisys to pilot the fat-client phase of the project so they can evaluate the security of the network and identify hardware and software bugs. The pilot will last into mid-December.

Along with the NCIC upgrade, the state police's entire network will be improved.

'The new system will be much quicker and more user-friendly,' said Mike Nagurny, director of the Pennsylvania State Police's computer operations division. 'We had upgraded some parts of CLEAN incrementally, but this is the most significant change that will affect all users.'

Eventually the system will provide police officers with full access to the NCIC system, which includes digital photos, signatures and identifying marks, from their workstations. All images will be transferred to the desktop PCs through TCP/IP.

The upgrade also will provide access to national databases of convicts and parolees, as well as an automated single-finger print matching system.

Nagurny hopes officers will be able to access all this information from their police cars within two years.

CLEAN will include hardware and software upgrades, as well as faster Internet connections. The project involves scrapping the dumb terminals and replacing the Unisys mainframe with an ES7000 series server with RAID arrays and an ES5000 series server, both also from Unisys. Both are four-processor servers using Intel Pentium III Xeon chips.

Getting thin

After the pilot stage, CLEAN will be transformed to a thin-client system using Datamaxx's Commserv 2020 to run the network and tie all the other applications together.

The upgrade also will include a new version of Unisys' Law Enforcement Message Switch software. This app helps police officers connect to the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, which allows them to search state transportation department databases and other federal and Canadian files.

'The access that NCIC will provide will make such a big difference,' said Robert Love, project implementation section supervisor for the State Police Technology Services Bureau. 'Officers will be able to submit an inquiry and get all information available from any state instead of having to get the same information from the FBI.'

Nagurny said the project likely will meet or beat the July deadline.

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