Tuesday, March 9, 2010

There's an app for that

I've blogged on many occasions about our superlative Records Management System, a collection of database applications that put an unprecedented amount of information at the fingertips of our employees.  But it's not just our employees: several other criminal justice agencies, such as the Lancaster County Sheriff and County Corrections, build their applications in the same framework.  We all share the master name index, and some other pieces of common files.  We also provide a good deal of functionality to the University of Nebraska Police Department, County Attorney, City Attorney, and other CJ agencies.

Friday was a great example of how collaboration helps everyone. I had a morning meeting with Gene Cotter, the Chief Probation Officer in our judicial district.  Adult probation is a State agency, but we work closely with the POs.  They have an interest in knowing about it quickly when one of their probationers has been cited or arrested again during the term of their probation.  To get this information, they have been scanning daily lists of fresh tickets and looking for familiar names.

There's an app for that.  We use it internally for officers to receive automatic notices when a person they are subscribed to has a new brush with the law. At any given time, I'm following a  dozen or so names personally.  If any of these pop up on a police report--a ticket, an Incident Report, an Accident Report, or so forth--I get a notice and a link to follow to that report. I thought we might be able to improve the probation department's ability to monitor new arrests and citations pretty quickly, and spoke to Clair Lindquist, who manages our information system, and who is primarily responsible for its excellence. 

Clair hammered some code on Friday afternoon, and by Monday morning he had created a modified version of our own name subscription system tailored to the needs of the probation staff.  You simply select the name of your probationer, and we will now push an email to you as soon as a new citation or arrest is entered in the database here at LPD--normally within a shift or two of the arrest or citation. There is no more delay and no more risk that a probation officer misses one of his or her clients in the lengthy daily list. I'm sure the probation staff will find this quite helpful, and if it helps them, it helps us, too.


ARRRRG!!!! said...

Here's a Pirate App, not a pirated app.

Anonymous said...

Is there an app that will force a judge revoke probation when their PO files a violation report, instead of just giving the probationer more probation, or just letting it go?

Jason said...

You're monitoring a dozen names?

So, do you enter "ARRRRG!!!!" as a first name or a last name?

Tom Casady said...

Jason, I believe ARRRRG!!!! would be entered as:

Lnu, Fnu

Mike Nehe said...

Very helpful, Chief. Thanks. Your staff and officers always provide us with much needed assistance and the efforts are appreciated. I hope we can return the favor whenever we can.

Anonymous said...

"Lnu, Fnu"

Don't forget NMI (or would it be MIu?).

Anonymous said...

It looks like some landlords weren't checking out their tenants very well. I wonder if the folks who signed the leases had any history of drug contacts or drug arrests.

Anonymous said...


Let me guess, these exemplary citizens didn't come all the way down to Lincoln, just to steal a TV, did they? They could have ripped a big flat-panel out of half the houses in Omaha.

Did the victims have any illegal-drug history?

Anonymous said...

The Corner needs some new topics. I love the techie stuff, but it has been a bit much lately. How about: 1) what is the hiring process really like? What gets you bumped? What gets you hired? 2) Thoughts on private investigators? Shady or respectable? 3) What about jurisdictional issues with so many LE agencies around? 4) Anything but a new app, chart, table, dashboard, etc.

Steve said...

Great use of the available technology, Chief. It's too bad more people don't see, or understand, how to take advantage of these kinds of tools. There's little doubt there are many more "apps" that would greatly improve the justice system (as well as many other government, or business, operations), if we just had more people savvy enough to come up with them.

Tom Casady said...


No need to guess.


Oh, come on now, it's not that bad. I've maybe had a few quasi-technology posts this week, but that's not really the norm. Check the label cloud: the size of the label and it's placement in the list is relative to its frequency as a topic. Besides, its my blog, and I'll write what I want! I'll put some of your topics on my list for future posts. Thanks for the suggestions.

Tom Casady said...


Some of these things seem so obvious, and if government was really "run like a business" everyone would be leveraging technology to the max to reduce expenses and increase profitability. Alas, it's not, and it is often difficult to get managers and decision makers to make the investments in IT that would be no-brainers in the private sector.

Anonymous said...

You probably don't want to talk about the tools you used in the discovery of the three growing operations today. However I have a little gadget like this that may be similar to some of the High Tech tools you might have used in that case:

I have played around with it and for the $60 price tag it is a heckuva tool. I have tested it at distances of up to fifty feet and it seems to be fairly consistent.

Gun Nut

Anonymous said...

I'm betting that this was one of the main hi-tech tools used to detect the farming op - meaning that somebody probably dropped a dime on them, unless somebody rolled over on them after they got busted for something else.

The heat thing can have a lot of probable cause issues.

Anonymous said...

Chief-Congrats to the folks in Narcotics on the big haul. Sounds like the price of weed just went up like the price of gas via the law of supply and demand. Poor dopers. Probably will have to steal some TV's to cover the impending price hike. Nah, they're not that ambitious, but I'd set a stakeout on every Frito-Lay truck and look for orange fingers......


Trevor Brass said...

As fun as laser thermometers are, I think LES could chip in here ... one of the biggest signs of indoor farms of any ware is skyrocketing electricity, all-year-round. With digitized and wireless collection of meter data, would it be that much of a step to go down a street sniffing for clues?

Anonymous said...

No need to guess

Thank you, sir! The Magic 8-ball is in for repair, refitting, and a shakedown, and I only have a loaner M8B for now. This hadn't been posted yet when I wrote that post:


Same address, of course.

Tom Casady said...

Gun Nut-

Good thought, but nope.


Wasn't aware of the Kyllo case, but the Wiki is an interesting read. I'd have to agree with Justice Stevens: heat is like an aroma wafting from your kitchen, it's left the house and entered the public domain.

Trevor Brass-

Not, however, if the farmers have the talent to bypass the meter and tap directly into the line.

Anonymous said...


While I agree the an odor, say of MJ (burning or not), or the strong aroma of a corn liquor still in operation, or the pungent odor of a meth cookery in the next apt, is plenty of PC for a contact/warrant/arrest - an odor can be detected with your nose, and no tools at all. In that respect, it's like sound; what I can plainly hear with my unaided ears, or smell with my unaided nose, or see with my unaided eyes is one thing.

It's quite another thing to use a thermal imaging device to scan a house from a distance, especially if I'm scanning the entire neighborhood from a helo, with the effective intent of finding a suspicious heat signature. If the human eye was able to see in the IR spectrum unaided, or if we had heat-sensing pits on our faces like some snakes, etc, then I'd agree with Stevens, but since that isn't the case, I side with the majority opinion.

Now then, to the dopers, just because alcohol causes many more problems than MJ, doesn't mean that MJ doesn't have a negative impact. That would be akin to saying that being shot in the calf with a .22 short was good, because it wasn't as bad as being shot in the stomach with 12 ga buckshot round. I believe that there was a DUI collision here in Lincoln in 2 or 3 weeks ago, where the driver was so high on weed that he passed out while driving (his PBT was 0.000, but he was high as a kite).