Governor Nixon signed into law a bill that cracks down on repeat DWI offenders. Missouri has gotten a grant that will help them streamline records and keep drunk drivers off the road.

Department of Public Safety spokesman Mike O’Connell says each law enforcement agency has it’s own record-keeping data system from local to state to administrative, but sharing those records is a bit more complicated.

O’Connell says a grant from the National Governors Association will help Missouri study how they can sync their records between all law enforcement, the courts and the administration.

A grant for $25,000 goes to Missouri, one of five states to receive funding for the project. Other states including Alabama, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and West Virginia will participate in Justice Information Sharing Systems.

The Governors’ Association says standardizing justice information sharing systems enables state agencies to have immediate access to arrest warrants, protective orders and other time-sensitive criminal justice decisions and actions necessary to keep the public safe.

“Through this policy academy, the selected states will work to streamline their justice information sharing systems,” said John Thomasian, director of the NGA Center. “As state budgets continue to shrink, this is an especially critical undertaking not only to better public safety by eliminating delays in accessing criminal information, but also to reduce the costs of sharing such information.”

The selected states will share best practices and harness valuable new tools and resources available to help reduce inefficiencies and make beneficial, strategic policy decisions and investments in technology. In particular, the policy academy states will use the Justice Reference Architecture, a framework developed and supported by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, which provides a way for states to standardize information sharing at all levels by looking at the components and agencies involved.

A policy academy is a highly interactive, team-based process that helps a select number of states develop and implement an action plan to address a complex public policy issue. Participating states receive guidance and technical assistance from NGA Center staff and faculty experts, as well as consultants from the private sector, research organizations, academia and the federal government. The strategies and policies developed by the selected states are intended to serve as ideas and best practices for all states.

This project is supported by the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance.

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“This is a great opportunity to further streamline and expedite important law enforcement record sharing in Missouri so that repeat DWI offenders cannot fall through the cracks, escape their proper punishment or treatment and wind up hurting innocent motorists and pedestrians,” Gov. Nixon said. “Additionally, the work our team does here in Missouri can serve as a model to help strengthen DWI enforcement across the country through this program.”

“We can improve the job we do in the criminal justice system by standardizing information and sharing that information securely and expeditiously,” said Missouri Director of Public Safety Director John M. Britt. “This grant will allow the team we’ve assembled to continue the improvement process that is already underway.”

Jessica Machetta reports [Download / listen Mp3, 1:20 min.]