Archive for Thursday, September 23, 2004

Baldwin PD expands capabilities

September 23, 2004

The Baldwin City Police Department now has a couple of different ways to make officers' jobs a little easier and provide better service to the community.

Police Chief Mike McKenna said the department's ability to soon access the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) from Baldwin and its recent membership to the Mid-states Organized Crime Informational Center (MOCIC) will help expand its capabilities.

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"This puts us on a level playing field with other agencies of our size in regards to technological equipment we need to conduct investigations," McKenna said.

NCIC is a large computer facility outside of Washington, D.C. that stores data files -- everything from warrants and stolen property reports to missing persons information and criminals' history -- from law enforcement agencies across the United States.

McKenna said the department will soon receive the approval to run its own NCIC inquiries from the Baldwin department. McKenna and administrative assistant Kerry Jacques have received training to become NCIC operators.

The ability to conduct its own NCIC inquiries, McKenna said, will prove valuable to the department.

"It can alert police officers if a person has been wanted in the past. We can run serial numbers on weapons to determine if they were used in a crime," he said. "And sometimes you get historical data on an item or person, which may cause you to enlarge the scope of an investigation.

"This is just a tremendous growth opportunity for our agency to expand our horizons."

Until now, the Baldwin City Police Department had run its NCIC inquiries through the Douglas County Communications Center in Lawrence, a process which McKenna said was time consuming.

"To get the results, we have to drive to Lawrence to pick them up because they can't be faxed or e-mailed," he said.

"But this way, we will have the computers and programs needed to run the information here," he said. "There will be a much faster impact on results of inquiries."

He said in the future, he hopes to have the capabilities to allow his officers to conduct NCIC inquiries from their patrol cars.

McKenna said the department's membership to MOCIC, an organization that promotes cooperation and information sharing among law enforcement agencies, will also be an asset.

"This allows us to conduct investigations into people's backgrounds and a whole host of information that wouldn't be available by any other means," he said. "This is a collaboration of agencies to access the wealth of information that otherwise wouldn't be shared."

Not only to MOCIC agencies share information, he said, they also share equipment and technology.

"This provides an agency such as ours with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment and tracking devices that we financially wouldn't ever be able to afford," he said. "This provides us with resources that would never be within our capabilities otherwise."

McKenna said programs like these enable the BCPD to better serve the community.

"This is progressive law enforcement," he said. "This is bringing our organization up to 21st-century techniques and capabilities we should have to protect and perform our duties the community deserves."

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