In February 1971, Governor Jimmy Carter created a study committee to develop a Master Plan for a Criminal Justice Information System in Georgia. The Governor believed that criminal justice agencies needed more complete, accurate and timely information about crime and criminals to combat crime. The plan, published in June 1972, recommended the establishment of a central agency to set and enforce state/federal law, policies and rules for a statewide computerized criminal justice system. Thus, GCIC was established by Executive Order of Governor Carter in 1972 and assigned to the Division of Investigation of the Department of Public Safety (DPS). In 1973, under Governor Carter’s Executive Reorganization Act, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) was established as a separate agency from DPS. GCIC continued as a division of GBI and GCIC’s enabling legislation, Georgia Law 92A-30 was passed.
Prior to the creation of the GCIC, information about offenders and crime was limited to individual local agency records and the relatively small records base of the GBI’s fingerprint identification bureau. In addition to creating GCIC, the Master Plan for a Criminal Justice Information System in Georgia called for new laws requiring the reporting of data on crime and criminals by local law enforcement and criminal justice agencies to include submission of arrestee fingerprints and final dispositions of arrest charges as well as the entry of wanted/missing persons and stolen property records.
The GCIC secured federal funds through the State Crime Commission, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA), and the federally funded Project SEARCH to develop computerized criminal justice information services for all components of Georgia’s criminal justice community. The backbone of these service systems was a computer based network of terminals located in local police departments, sheriff’s offices, courts, correctional institutions, and federal and state law enforcement agencies. This network, known as the Criminal Justice Information System (CJIS) network serves as a communications system for local law enforcement. Additionally, it provides access to information on wanted/missing persons and stolen property entered by local law enforcement, as well as access to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) National Crime Information Center (NCIC) files and other state maintained databases such as vehicle registration and driver’s license. Following the implementation of the CJIS network, the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program became operational in 1975 to provide statistical data on crime and arrests primarily for use by local agencies to improve utilization and effectiveness of available manpower resources.
Within the mission assigned to GCIC by Georgia law was to establish a central criminal record repository for arrest and final disposition information based on arrests and prosecutions statewide. Georgia’s Computerized Criminal History (CCH) system provides access to arrest, disposition and custodial data and is available to local law enforcement through the CJIS network. GCIC implemented the Offender Based Tracking System (OBTS) as a mechanism to follow the criminal offender through the criminal justice system and ensure information on arrests, hearings, prosecutor and court actions and custodial status are properly linked.
Just as envisioned when GCIC was established, GCIC continues to serve as the chief provider of criminal justice information services in Georgia by providing officials and agencies in the criminal justice community with round-the-clock access to information needed to fulfill their responsibilities. The mission of GCIC is “To protect the citizens of Georgia by providing accurate and timely criminal justice information and related services. GCIC does this through employee, customer and stakeholder involvement, teamwork, planning and technology.
The Georgia Board of Public Safety also serves as the GCIC Council responsible for providing assistance and guidance to GCIC. The Rules of the GCIC Council rest on the authority of federal law and rules as well as state laws and serve to provide additional detail regarding the administration of GCIC’s operations.
GCIC takes its’ mandate and mission seriously and has evolved into an entity which provides very specific and vital services to all users. Every program within GCIC is mandated by law and provides a direct benefit to criminal justice agencies, non-criminal justice agencies and the general public.
Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS): Georgia’s AFIS became operational in 1990 and was the first AFIS to integrate fingerprint identification and CCH update processing. Both criminal and civil fingerprints are submitted electronically from “live scan” devices and AFIS/CCH responses, as well as FBI fingerprint search responses when appropriate, are returned to the submitting agency within an average of 2 hours for criminal fingerprints and 24 hours for civil fingerprints.
The AFIS also provides for latent print searching by GBI’s Division of Forensic Sciences (DOFS) and remote ten print and latent print searching by local agencies.
CJIS Network: The CJIS network provides access to computerized data bases maintained by Georgia agencies, agencies in other states and the FBI’s NCIC.
Compliance Audits: The Rules of the GCIC Council mandate performance audits of criminal justice agencies that access the Georgia CJIS network to assess and enforce compliance with the Rules of the GCIC Council, O.C.G.A. § 35-3-30 through 35-3-40, other relevant Georgia code sections and pertinent federal statutes and regulations. In addition, the FBI requires GCIC to triennially audit criminal justice agencies in order to ensure compliance with applicable statutes, regulations and policies.
As an Alternate Permit State, the Georgia’s National Instant Background Check System (NICS) audit was established to assess the performance of agencies that query and utilize the NICS Index. The audit is based on policies set forth in the Gun Control Act of 1968, as amended; Titles 27 and 28, Code of Federal Regulations, and O.C.G.A. 16-11-129.
As a participant in the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx), GCIC established the N-DEx audit to assess the performance of agencies that utilize the system. The audit is based on policies set forth in the N-DEx Policy and Operating Manual.
Computerized Criminal History (CCH): Georgia’s CCH database includes criminal history records of almost 4 million offenders and includes many features such as charge tracking, prosecutor dispositions, mug shots and automatic subscription notifications.
Customer Support: In addition to providing criminal justice information, GCIC conducts training for criminal justice and non-criminal justice users of criminal justice information. Training is conducted statewide on a continuing basis to help users recognize and solve problems before violations of the law and/or regulations occur. GCIC has embraced computer-based training (CBT), which leverages limited state resources, as well as improves customer service by providing agencies with greater flexibility in training employees in state and federally required areas related to access and dissemination of criminal justice information.
Georgia Applicant Processing Service (GAPS): Over the past decade, the demand for fingerprint-based criminal history record checks for licensing or employment purposes has expanded significantly. GAPS is an end-to-end electronic solution for the capture and submission of civil fingerprints and return of the fingerprint-based criminal history search response to the employing/licensing agencies.
Protective Order Registry: The Family Violence and Stalking Protective Order Registry Act of 2001 created the Georgia Protective Order Registry (GPOR) and GBI is responsible for the management of this registry. Access to protective orders enhances victim safety by providing law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys access to issued orders as well as identifying individuals federally prohibited from purchasing a firearm.
Rapid ID: In 2010, GCIC added a statewide “Rapid ID” system, which supports mobile flat print searches of a centralized database at GBI through handheld fingerprint devices. Search responses are returned to the officer initiating the search, along with a pointer to the participating agencies where additional information may be found.
Sex Offender Registry: In accordance with O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12, the GBI is the central repository for Georgia's Violent Sexual Offender Registry. One component of the Sex Offender Registry Tool (SORT) is a web-based administrative site used by Sheriff’s Offices for sex offender registration and the second component is a site the public can access to search Georgia sex offenders.
Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR): The UCR program receives crime and arrest reports from more than 600 state and local law enforcement agencies each month either through a web-based reporting application or via file transfer protocol (FTP).
GCIC Advisory Board
The GCIC Advisory Board was created in 2001 to provide continual input to further the enhancement of GCIC and serve as a liaison between GCIC and its customers that access and use information and services for both criminal and non-criminal justice purposes. The Board provides advice and counsel pertaining to all GCIC service-related issues prior to approval and dissemination.
Membership, to the extent possible, represents all facets of criminal justice to include law enforcement, courts and prosecutors. Membership also includes representation from probate courts and state and local governmental agencies that utilize state and federal criminal history record information for licensing and employment suitability decisions.
GCIC serves as the CJIS Systems Agency (CSA) for the FBI and the GCIC Director serves as the CJIS Systems Officer (CSO). The GCIC Director also serves as the State Compact Officer for the National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council, as well as the gubernatorial appointee to SEARCH. The GCIC Director serves as, or appoints, the Georgia representative to Nlets.
FBI CJIS Advisory Process
The FBI’s CJIS Division is responsible for managing programs administered by the FBI for the benefit of local, state, tribal, federal and foreign criminal justice agencies. These programs include: NCIC, Next Generation Identification (NGI), UCR, NICS and N-DEx.
The CJIS Division’s management responsibilities include operation of existing systems and development of new technologies. The CJIS Advisory Process was created to obtain the user community’s advice and guidance on the operation of CJIS systems. The CJIS Advisory Process provides for a “shared management” approach to the CJIS systems to which state and local agencies contribute.
FBI CJIS created the Advisory Process in December 1994 and it replaced the former NCIC Advisory Policy Board (which operated from 1969 through 1994). The Advisory Process consists of two components – Working Groups and the Advisory Policy Board (APB).
The APB is responsible for reviewing policy, technical and operational issues and making appropriate recommendations to the FBI Director. The APB meets twice annually and meetings are conducted in open session. The APB is composed of 33 representatives from criminal justice and national security agencies.
The FBI CJIS Working Groups are also a component of the Advisory Process. All 50 states, as well as U.S. territories and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police are organized into five Working Groups. One state-level and one local-level agency representative from each state serves on their respective regional working group. The state-level agency representative is selected by the CJIS Systems Agency (CSA) and the local-level agency selection is coordinated with the IACP/GACP and NSA/GSA. The Working Groups meet twice a year and meetings are closed to the public.
Georgia is a member of the Southern Working Group, which includes: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia and West Virginia.
National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact Council
The National Crime Prevention and Privacy Compact was signed into law October 9, 1998. The Compact became effective April 28, 1999 after being ratified by two states, Montana and Georgia. The Compact establishes the infrastructure to exchange criminal history record information for non-criminal justice purposes and provides for dissemination according to the laws of the requesting state. The goal is to make available the most complete and up-to-date records as possible for non-criminal justice purposes.
The Compact binds the FBI and ratifying states to participate in the non-criminal justice access of III in accordance with the Compact and established system policies. The Compact has the full force and effect of law within ratifying jurisdictions. Georgia’s ratification of the statute is embodied in O.C.G.A. §35-3-39.1.
The Compact also established a 15-member Council whose members are appointed by the U.S. Attorney General. The Council monitors operations of III and promulgates rules and procedures for proper use of III for non-criminal justice purposes. The Council meets at least once a year and meetings are open to the public.
SEARCH, The National Consortium for Justice Information and Statistics
SEARCH’s mission is to serve as the premier resource for collecting, sharing, and analyzing innovate and timely knowledge, information, best practices, services and solutions for justice information sharing. SEARCH membership is comprised of one gubernatorial appointee from each of the 50 states, as well as District of Columbia and U.S. territories. An additional 8 at-large members are appointed to represent academia and professional associations. SEARCH allows for the states to speak on issues with a collective voice.
Nlets, The International Justice and Public Safety Network
Nlets is an interstate justice and public safety network created for the exchange of law enforcement, criminal justice, and public safety-related information.
Nlets, is a private, not-for-profit corporation owned by the States that was created over 45 years ago. The user population is made up of all of the United States and its territories, all federal agencies with a justice component, selected international agencies, and a variety of strategic partners that serve the law enforcement community-cooperatively exchanging data.
The types of data being exchanged varies from motor vehicle and drivers' data, to Canadian and Interpol database located in Lyon France, to state criminal history records and driver license and corrections images. Operations consist of nearly 1.5 billion transactions a year to over 1 million PC, mobile and handheld devices in the U.S. and Canada at 45,000 user agencies and to 1.3 million individual users.