Mobile database aims to help police in the field

CJLEADS tool aims to help officers in the field

dstephens@newsobserver.comAugust 7, 2012 

Law enforcement officials across North Carolina can now access a comprehensive criminal database from mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.

The “CJLEADS” program compiles information from various state departments and divisions – such as Public Safety, Justice and Motor Vehicles – into one place.

Originally, police had to go to several different databases to get access to a suspect’s criminal record. But that changed after lapses and lack of communication between departments were revealed in the wake of the 2008 murders of UNC student Eve Carson and Duke student Abhijit Mahato.

“The individuals involved in those murders were walking around free,” said Kay Meyer, the CJLEADS program director for statewide integration. “That’s why the General Assembly commissioned us to make this program that compiles data.”

CJLEADS – which stands for Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Automated Data Services – will prove even more valuable now that it is mobile, officials say.

“It has been the best tool for police officers, since we don’t have access to different databases when we’re out of the office,” said Scott Broadwell, an alcohol and narcotics officer who took part in the beta testing of the mobile version.

“If someone gives us a false name, we can validate them fast,” he continued. “We’re not tethered to our car, so in lots of settings it’s going to keep us safer. If my partner is talking to someone, I can look them up to see if they have a record and if we should be careful.”

Officer John Maultsby of the Raleigh Police Department, another beta tester of the mobile version, said, “We have officers on foot and on Segways, and they can’t necessarily have computers on them all the time. Having it on our phones is a good way to get the information we need.”

CJLEADS has been implemented in about 90 percent of the state and is used by 21,000 law enforcement officials.

The database cannot be accessed by the general public.

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