New York state recently announced it launching of a new domestic incident report repository.
According to Elizabeth Glazer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's deputy secretary for public safety, law enforcement is now able to search for incident information regardless of which police agency responded to a call or filed a report.
"Domestic incidents can be volatile and, as we have seen in communities across the state, too often deadly," Glazer said. "This new tool provides access to information that will enable local law enforcement to more safely respond to calls, enhance the prosecution of domestic violence crimes and improve the supervision of offenders on parole and probation, and in doing so, better protect domestic violence survivors and break the cycle of abuse."
The repository gives authorized users such as police officers, sheriffs' deputies, prosecutors and probation and parole officers the ability to search domestic incident reports filed by agencies in the 57 counties outside of New York City; those agencies file approximately 175,000 domestic incident reports annually.
Police are required to file a paper domestic incident report to document each call, regardless of whether an arrest was made, and provide copies of those reports to the state. The document contains a wealth of information, including the names of the individuals involved and the circumstances surrounding each call, which can be crucial to victim and officer safety and the effective prosecution of domestic violence cases.
Prior to the creation of the database repository, paper DIRs were typically filed chronologically by the agency that took the reports, and the information contained in them couldn't be searched, shared or analyzed across jurisdictions. Now, DIR reports received by the state are scanned and stored in a database that is searchable by name and address and can generate a summary of all domestic violence activity at a specific location, including the number of reports filed and if there are any "red flag" indicators - threats that were made and or access to a weapon - for example.
Since the repository's pilot phase began last September, more than a dozen law enforcement agencies, including the Erie County Crime Analysis Center, have used the system to search the approximately 244,000 records currently available. Erie is one of the state's four Crime Analysis Centers, which are responsible for conducting in-depth analysis of all county crime data; the other centers are located in Albany, Monroe and Onondaga counties.
The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services and state Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence began working on the repository in 2009 and used $1.5 million in federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act aid to complete the project.
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