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Colo. database rife with errors

  • Data fumble. A Colorado child abuse database holds inaccurate records and is used incorrectly, state auditors said last month.

    The Human Services Department operates the 30-year-old registry and its new Trails database management system. Many details in the records are wrong, and its users lack training, the auditors found.

    In a sample of 31 child abuse reports from June 2000 to March 2001, the auditors found 44 errors. They included 'instances where children's names were misspelled, Social Security numbers were incorrect, severity and types of abuse were incorrect, and birth dates were missing,' the report said.

    The auditors examined all 107,848 records in the database and found gaps that limit its usefulness in tracking down abusers.

    Also, the database does not properly purge the records of persons cleared of child abuse charges, the auditors reported. They identified 191 individuals who had been acquitted but were still listed as perpetrators.

  • Keeping tabs. The California Corrections Department is developing a pilot program that will use the Global Positioning System to track parolees.

    The department signed an agreement late last year with Digital Angel, a subsidiary of Applied Digital Solutions Inc. of Palm Beach, Fla. The Riverside, Calif., subsidiary makes devices for monitoring a person's whereabouts and vital statistics.

    The program will track a few hundred high-risk sex offenders who will wear a monitoring device, said Russ Heimerich, spokesman for the Corrections Department. 'These are the people we're most concerned about keeping away from schools and other areas,' he said.

    The device can transmit alerts over Palm OS, e-mail, browsers and pagers, said Amro Albanna, president of Digital Angel Corp.'s Riverside division.

  • Up and running. Connecticut's IT Department completed the transition to its new $12 million data center recently. The center replaces a 25-year-old system.

    It provides state agencies with 10 times the network speed of the previous system and expands the system's storage capacity.

  • Opportunity. The Technology Opportunities Program of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration gives matching grants to state and local jurisdictions to upgrade their IT and telecom services. See what grants are available at www.ntia.doc.gov/otiahome/Otiahome.html.

    'Wilson P. Dizard III, Trudy Walsh, Jason Miller and Susan M. Menke
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