San Francisco Sheriff's Department still the only ones using JUSTIS system 

The long-delayed JUSTIS project is supposed to link The City’s public safety departments using one computer network. But more than a decade after the plan was put into motion, the Sheriff’s Department is the sole user of the system.

Now the Police Department is promising it will be plugged into the Justice Tracking System by the time the leaves are turning.

The department is capable of searching its own police reports for important information such as tattoos, types of guns and other identifying information for suspects, according to the department’s chief information officer, Susan Giffin. However, it can’t share that data with other agencies.

The seamless sharing of information among law enforcement agencies could better protect victims, along with ensuring agencies have all the relevant information to make the right decision when coming across a suspect.

It already allows sheriff’s deputies to use the automated system for booking, classifying, moving and housing inmates, according to sheriff’s spokeswoman Eileen Hirst.

“That has been a sea change of monumental proportions for us,” Hirst said.

But the system has yet to be linked to the Police and Probation departments so officers have access to a central database of tattoos, gang information and up-to-date booking photos.

In 2009, a budget analyst’s report found the project was 10 years overdue and 40 percent over budget. On Thursday, those involved with the project were unable to give any recent budget data, much to the dismay of supervisors at the Public Safety Committee.

After 14 years and massive budget overruns, supervisors still don’t have answers to when the program will be completed, said Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who added that he was happy to hear the Police Department would be connected by fall.

“A long line of supervisors have been asking about this for years,” Chiu said. “It is my hope that we are at the end of that long line, but I have to admit I’m still very concerned about this project.”

The discussion was continued to a date in the near future. Supervisors David Campos, Ross Mirkarimi and Malia Cohen all expressed interest in keeping watch over the program.

bbegin@sfexaminer.com

Data collection

1974: Year current public safety system installed

2001: Year JUSTIS was supposed to be completed

$21.8 million: Estimated total cost

Source: December 2009 budget analyst’s report

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Brent Begin

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