Justice IT pilots cover photo sharing, GIS

The Justice Department has targeted $1.8 million in grant funds to pilot projects in the fields of driver's license photo sharing and the use of geospatial information systems (GIS) in law enforcement work, according to the nonprofit grantee recipient.

The department issued the grants through the National Institute of Justice, which supports research, development and evaluation of criminal justice technology. Nlets, also known as the International Justice and Public Safety Network, announced that it would devote more than $1 million of the funds, which comprise two of the three grants included in the package, to expand its program for driver's license photo sharing.

Nlets, formerly known as the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System, is a nonprofit organization owned by state governments. It was originally founded to operate a communications backbone for law enforcement agencies nationwide and in selected countries overseas. Nlets still operates the telecommunications system and has upgraded it in recent years.

Nlets launched its Interstate Sharing of Photos (NISP) pilot in January to allow law enforcement agencies to share driver's license photos over the Nlets network, the organization said. Before NISP began, interstate driver's license photo sharing was available only to motor vehicle departments (DMVs) and not to law enforcement agencies, the organization said.

Nlets launched the first phase of the NISP pilot in March at the International Association of Chiefs of Police's State and Provincial Police Division annual meeting.

So far, the NISP pilot includes North and South Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee and Virginia. The second and third phases of the NISP pilot will expand the driver's license sharing technology to more states. The future phases also will extend the system to include photos from jails and prisons as well as other law enforcement sources, Nlets said in a statement.

The third grant will support Nlets' Live Operational Geospatial Information Capability (LOGIC). The $700,000 devoted to the LOGIC activities is aimed at improving crime detection and incident mapping, alerting systems, resource allocation methods and situational-awareness technology, Nlets said. LOGIC is intended to demonstrate the benefits of geospatial technology for law enforcement and public safety missions that cross state lines and other jurisdictional boundaries, Nlets said.

'In addition, LOGIC will evaluate the viability of delivering these location-based services over the Nlets network,' the organization said.

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