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Marking a major upgrade in how police, prosecutors and other law enforcement officials gather electronic information about offenders, the Connecticut Department of Information Technology has approved an $8.5 million contract with a Virginia-based technology company. The communications contract is for the State of Connecticut’s Online Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing Revision Project (COLLECT), which helps link officials to information such as warrants, stolen property, criminal history, protection orders and motor vehicle records. According to Nuala Ford, a spokesperson for the Department of Information Technology, one of the major benefits of the upgrade will include allowing law enforcement officials to have more wireless communication options — such as accessing information via laptop computer or cellular phone. The computerized information system can be accessed by some 15,000 local, state and federal law enforcement officials such as the State’s Attorneys offices, the Department of Motor Vehicles, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Environmental Protection. The Virginia-based company, Maximus, was hired to replace the outdated information system used across the state, in a multi-phased project that is expected to take until September of 2005 to implement. She added that the new COLLECT system will also be able to tie in with other criminal justice programs being implemented in the state, such as the application of a criminal justice information system which will allow eight state agencies to track an offender’s status from arrest to release. “Other criminal justice information systems that are moving quickly forward will dovetail with this [COLLECT] program,” Ford said. The new program will also improve security controls, printing and reporting capabilities, messaging systems and interface compatibility with other computer networks. “All of the local and state and criminal justices agencies will be impacted,” Ford said. The state’s COLLECT program is one of the first systems in the nation to implement the latest in law enforcement information standards, according to a spokesperson for Maximus. “Law enforcement information systems such as COLLECT directly impact the lives of each one of us by providing information enabling public safety officers to protect the public,” Dr. David Mastran, the chief executive officer of Maximus said in a release issued on Dec. 3. “COLLECT will place Connecticut as one of the first states with a new generation law enforcement system.”

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