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CLEMIS Implementation of PictureLink

Written by Law and Order Staff

The Courts and Law Enforcement Management Information System (CLEMIS) is a consortium of more than 100 law enforcement agencies from five counties in the greater Detroit metropolitan area. CLEMIS integrates and coordinates agencies with a regional approach to law enforcement information systems.

As part of that effort, CLEMIS sought to update its legacy imaging system in order to obtain better image quality, better systems integration and improved agency level operational efficiency. CLEMIS’ goal was to implement an intelligent approach to information gathering and sharing within the consortium to better support investigative and operational needs in post-Sept. 11 law enforcement.

The Problem

Like the legacy applications of many other law enforcement agencies today, the legacy imaging application utilized by CLEMIS had considerable limitations. First, mugshot image quality was unreliable. Although there are specific guidelines for mugshot image quality, the legacy imaging system failed to adequately control image capture variables to ensure the consistency of mugshot images. As a result, there were often dramatic variations in mugshot quality that threatened the admissibility of them for evidentiary purposes.

Next, the existing application was entirely proprietary in nature and severely limited how CLEMIS could access its own information and images. The vendor of the proprietary legacy application, not CLEMIS, controlled external access to the captured images. This compromised the consortium’s ability to effectively use its information for additional investigatory functions and prevented it from being able to exchange information with other systems.

Moreover, the imaging application operated as an isolated system, which serviced a specific function within the agency and provided limited integration with the other information systems used by the CLEMIS agencies (e.g., Livescan, Jail, CCH, etc.). As such, there was no mechanism for connecting all of the data acquired by these systems into a one comprehensive record. This meant that there was no way for investigators to access all CLEMIS agency information for an individual with one search, in one system.

In addition, the system was too expensive and restrictive. It required expensive desktop licensing that prohibited the agency from installing it on as many desktops as it wanted. As a result, CLEMIS agencies could only afford to run the system on a limited number of workstations. In addition, the legacy system used specialized and outdated operating systems, preventing the agencies from taking advantage of mobile technologies in order to enable investigators to access the system and images from the field.

Finally, there was limited investigative support in the legacy system. The system only provided limited investigative tools such as search, lineup and forms. It did not offer advanced investigative tools such as witness mug book, facial recognition or disguise.

The Solution

After an evaluation of all available options, CLEMIS selected PictureLink©. Picturelink is a wide-area imaging application system designed to work in conjunction with an agency’s jail and/or records management systems. PictureLink is an enhancement to, not a replacement of, CLEMIS’ other systems, including its records management systems and fingerprint system.

This provided a much less expensive upgrade that made the most of the information they already had. PictureLink provides a full suite of imaging tools, as well as full investigative access to those images along with the arrest and offense information associated with each person arrested within the consortium.

PictureLink’s automated mugshot images are professional quality. PictureLink’s Auto-Capture feature automatically aligns the camera to the subject and provides automated quality assurance pursuant to image quality guidelines to capture a mugshot of professional quality.

Once images are captured, an automated image assessment is provided to ensure conformance to established image standards. This makes it easier for officers to capture qualified, high quality mugshots with no effort. In addition, it provides for consistency of images by effectively neutralizing the environment and any agency/officer variations that threaten admissibility.

The department has complete image control. PictureLink is a non-proprietary system that embraces all modern system standards for storing images and data in an open but heavily secured environment. CLEMIS owns the images, and therefore can share, distribute, and use images as they please, including on customized forms, e-mail, etc. In addition, PictureLink also enables users to import images from any other source to be attached to records and used in the PictureLink investigative tools such as facial recognition.

The PictureLink architecture seamlessly connects the various information systems used throughout CLEMIS to create a real-time image and data repository accessible to all CLEMIS agencies. To do that, PictureLink uses front-end and back-end data exchanges that reach out to all aspects of CLEMIS’ business model: Jail, state police, juvenile, LiveScan and AFIS.

Each PictureLink record is enhanced by importing information from those external systems so that each PictureLink record provides a complete snapshot of all CLEMIS arrest activity records for a person (regardless of the system in which it was initially entered), as well as providing links to all of those records. The information is immediately available to field officers, and they can access additional information by simply clicking on the links. This greatly enhanced the exchange of data between CLEMIS systems and facilitated real-time data sharing among CLEMIS agencies.

PictureLink is a networked application that can be accessed by any desktop at a CLEMIS agency. Moreover, it includes a secured, Web-enabled application environment that extends information access to remote users, and supports wireless access through any means (e.g., BlackBerry, hand-held devices, laptop, PDA, patrol car, etc.) Whether in the office or in the field, officers and investigators can now gather, review and update images and information from any location instantaneously, providing huge advantages for investigative and operational purposes.

Offering tools such as lineup, witness mug book, facial recognition and customizable forms, PictureLink supports the entire spectrum of law enforcement imaging needs by putting more critical information at the officers’ fingertips wherever and whenever needed. In addition, PictureLink enhances typical lineup features by providing the ability to enhance and disguise images, as well as providing the ability to import images from almost any other source.

PictureLink’s customizable forms capability provides high quality forms combining demographic information and images that can be saved, printed and/or e-mailed, and the facial recognition feature provides a powerful identification capability to investigators.

PictureLink links images to information and enables CLEMIS agencies to access, share, and distribute images and information anywhere, any time and with anyone, on almost any system.

PictureLink on the Job

More than ever before, 9/11 has put a greater emphasis on suspect identification. With the CLEMIS implementation of the PictureLink application, more than 105 law enforcement agencies in southeastern Michigan, including the FBI and the Wayne County Airport Police, now have that ability at their fingertips.

“Whether they are using a laptop computer, hand-held device or investigative workstation, the ability to positively identify suspects and arrestees is at their fingertips,” said Lieutenant Kim G. Rossman of the Oakland County, MI Sheriff’s Office.

“The use of PictureLink Internet access is a great resource for an investigator at the home of a victim so that we don’t have to re-victimize the person by having them leave their home to go to the station to search and/or identify suspect’s mugshots,” said Detective Ron Tuski of the Auburn Hills Police Department.

Using PictureLink in the field also gives the investigator access to thousands of images to search criteria in developing suspects on the scene and efficiently providing identification more quickly to road patrol units searching for the suspect.

“The auto-capture feature for face front photos in PictureLink almost guarantees a usable image, making it nearly goof-proof,” offered Lieutenant David Knezek (ret.), of the Dearborn Heights, MI Police Department. “View One image quality is consistent amongst all of the 53 submitting agencies.”


Published in Law and Order, Jul 2006

Rating : 10.0


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