This report explores the Georgia Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Information Center and compares it to that of two other bureaus of investigation in other states. This report studies four different positions within the Crime Information Center and identifies their aspects. The report concludes in examining which of the three analyzed is the most comprehensive in terms of information and reach of data.
The Georgia Crime Information Center began in 1973 seeking to serve as the prime place for information regarding criminal justice in the state of Georgia. It has since become one of the most well-known agencies that fulfill the particular responsibilities in accordance with the services it asserts that it provides. The Georgia Crime Information Center is an organization that is mandated by the laws of the state of Georgia to continually both enforce and monitor the federal and state statutes as well as other regulations and rules associated with the GCIC Council, or Georgia Board of Public Safety ("Georgia Crime Information Center," 2013). The particular information center is held within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. At the top of the structure is the director and then the administration and the subsequent areas associated with the bureau.
The Georgia Crime Information Center runs on what is known as the CJIS network that is replete with databases that maintain the various information of more than 1,500 member agencies associated with all aspects of crime on the basis of local, federal and state criminal acts. The network presently handles approximately 13 million messages on a monthly basis supporting the various criminal justice agencies in the state of Georgia. Furthermore, the information center also maintains a database that keeps the criminal records and fingerprints of more than 2.6 million people. It was the first criminal records repository that established what became known as the AFIS, or Automated Fingerprint Identification System. Its purpose was to update fingerprints. The system currently is capable of supporting a notable amount of records, including both historical information and new and current data pertaining to criminals and their respective histories ("Georgia Crime Information Center," 2013).
It is important to note that the GCIC's responsibilities are not solely governed by the state of Georgia, but extend beyond the state in terms of criminal justice information. Moreover, the information center seeks to contribute to other national crime reporting programs and agencies on a periodic basis. This allows for a complete encompassing of information among all agencies in the United States ("Georgia Crime Information Center," 2013). The purpose of this report will be to analyze the structure within the GCIC when compared to similar agencies as well as to conduct observations on the basis of how the center should run.
Four people were interviewed from the Georgia Crime Information Center: David Langston, Jean Cook, Michael Jones, and Steve Morris. Each of these people offered insights into the structure of the GCIC as well as the inner workings of the GBI. David Langston: Fingerprint processor; Jean Cook: Auditor; Michael Jones: Forensic Psychologist; and Steve Morris: Forensic Linguistics Expert.
David Langston's job is to ensure that the fingerprints are processed correctly and withheld in the database. In the U.S. Department of Justice's "Guidelines for Preparation of Fingerprint Cards and Associated Criminal History Information", it stresses the importance of meeting criteria in order to have proper fingerprint submissions ("Introduction"). Thus, Langston's job is to ensure that the fingerprints (either paper or electronic) are done in accordance with the standards and to reject them if the guidelines outlined in the U.S. Department of Justice's guidelines are not correct. These guidelines include "missing or invalid data, descriptive data not complete, missing originating agency identifiers, fingerprints on back of fingerprint card [rather than front], fingerprints out of sequence, more than one fingerprint impression per block, no attempt to print deformed or scarred fingers [and] more than two tabs per fingerprint block" ("Introduction").
Jean Cook is a forensic auditor. In the article by ACCA entitled "Forensic Auditing", it relays that this particular aspect of forensic science and criminal justice covers a wide range of activities. An auditor who works in a criminal investigation center focuses its efforts on investigating criminal activity of a fraud nature including corruption, asset misappropriation, and financial statement fraud. The auditor will conduct an investigation associated with the crime and analyze it accordingly (p.58-59). Thus, Jean Cook maintains or rather helps to maintain the documents of an evidentiary nature for the GCIC. This information is then logged into the database for use by the many different agencies that have access to the network for informational and criminal justice purposes.
Forensic psychologist, Michael Jones was interviewed next to gain an understanding of what a forensic psychologist does for the GCIC. Jones informed that he is on staff to assist the GBI in cases where individuals need psychological evaluations as well as for research purposes. Mauro (2010) offered further examination into the field of forensic psychology by noting that these individuals offer a multitude of services. These individuals research on "any topic in which psychology and law interact. The field seems limitless [in that these individuals research] criminal profiling, crime trends, effective mental health treatment for offenders, effective treatment for substance abusers, techniques for jury selection," (p.1), etc.
Steve Morris is a forensic linguist and acoustician for the GCIC. Hitt (2012) denotes that the field of forensic linguistics is centered on understanding written law, evidence and processes pertaining to the field of criminal justice specifically trademark, meaning and use dispute, analysis of both voice and discourse and phonetics (p.1). In addition to these functions, Morris inputs his analysis into the database for record-keeping and future use. Hitt (2012) further stated that by analyzing patterns and syntax in criminal cases and to unearth facts is a crucial technique in record keeping and forensic analysis (p.1). In other words, Morris' job is to extract the necessary data and input it into the database for informational purposes. Additionally, Morris fulfills this on the local, federal and state levels.
Following the interviews, there was an analysis of the positions to decide other agencies to compare them to in order to know if they were at other local agencies. To do this, two state agencies will be selected: The California Bureau of Investigation and the Missouri Bureau of Investigation. These were selected on the basis that Missouri often ranks highly in crime and California is a significant state in terms of criminal activity. Thus, the basis of the study was to discover if the structures of the two agencies were similar to that of Georgia as far as the positions of the individuals interviewed and the wide scope of activities in general. To test this, there will be an examination of the two bureaus in addition to that of the Georgia Bureau of Investigation specifically looking at the positions of the individuals there as well as the structure associated. Second, there will be a comparison of the website layouts and history. Lastly, it will be decided which is the most extensive of the three in terms of information and overall criminal justice intricacies. Additionally, each bureau will be telephoned to find out if the four positions of the individuals interviewed at first are also present at the other bureaus. There will be a set of 10 questions that will be asked to the other two bureaus.
The following is a table that notes the 4 questions and the answers when compared to those of the GBI.
(Table omitted for preview. Available via download)
It seems as though the only differentiating dynamic between the three-bureau divisions is their establishment. The California Bureau of Investigation informational center with services similar to the GCIC was created only 2 years ago, however, the state in accordance with the Attorney General has made sure that the respective positions of the individuals that were interviewed at the GCIC are present. The third question pertaining to the updating of the bureaus were all the same - monthly indicative that information is not updated as it is coming in, but on a monthly basis, which in analysis is sufficient, but not necessarily the best course of action with regard to keeping criminal history and other records updated for use by other agencies that may need the information sooner than a month. The fourth question was quite surprising in that the when telephoned, the individuals who were asked did not denote that the bureaus needed to offer additional services.
The fifth question regarding crime statistics was answered yes meaning that the various bureaus do keep track of the statistics in their bureau. The sixth question was observed as the bureaus all stated that there are regulations on the criminal records. These are based on the regulations of the state where the bureaus are. It is important to note that regulations and restrictions are in accordance with the statutes of the states where the bureaus are present. For the seventh question, the California Bureau of Investigation does not deal with the sexual offender registry directly. It is a separate area that law enforcement deals with while the state of Georgia and Missouri do deal with it directly at the bureau of investigation. For the eighth and ninth questions, the state of Georgia appears to be the only one of the three that specifically has an area that addresses preventative child abuse and gambling. While the state of California and Missouri do treat both as issues and problems, they do not unequivocally address them in their investigative bureaus. Each of the bureaus has an area where information can be processed directly on their websites which is beneficial for those that work at the bureaus and for individuals such as the writer of this report viewing the information or finding out how to view it.
On the basis of the study, it seems as though the Georgia Crime Information Center within the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, is the most thorough as far as information and service offerings. The Missouri Bureau of Investigation website also had extensive information. The surprising factor in this study was the California Bureau of Investigation not only starting their informational areas in 2012 but having a minimal amount of information on their website especially given the extensive aspect of the state of California. Furthermore, the Georgia Crime Information Center's website was the one that was the easiest one to navigate and search for the pertinent information for the study. The results of the student given this factor were not surprising with the California Bureau of Investigation having the least amount of information in order to look up the necessary tidbits to compare the three agencies. The Georgia Crime Information Center then was the most fascinating out of the three and strikes as being the most comprehensive in not only the state of Georgia but in general in terms of scope of different forensic and criminal justice individuals but also in the extensive amount of information that can be obtained from their databases and networks on a federal, local and state level.
(Organizational chart omitted for preview. Available via download)
California Bureau of Investigation. (2013). Retrieved from http://oag.ca.gov/bi
Forensic Auditing [Article]. (n.d.). Retrieved from ACCA website: http://www2.accaglobal.com/documents/forensic_ auditing.pdf
Georgia Crime Information Center. (2013). Retrieved from Georgia Bureau of Investigation website: http://gbi.georgia.gov/georgia-crime-information-center
Guidelines for Preparation of Fingerprint Cards and Associated Criminal History Information [Report]. (n.d.). Retrieved from U.S. Department of Justice website: http://www.fbi.gov/about- us/cjis/fingerprints_biometrics/guidelines- for-preparation-of-fingerprint-cards-and- association-criminal-history-information
Hitt, C. (2012, July 23). Words on trial. The New Yorker, Retrieved from http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2012/07/23/120723fa_fact_hitt
Mauro, M. (2010, June 7). What is forensic psychology? Psychology Today, Retrieved from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/take-all-prisoners/201006/what-is-forensic-psychology
Missouri Bureau of Investigation. (2013). Retrieved from http://dps.mo.gov/leagencies.asp