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McCaskill says delayed information puts officers in danger

February 18, 2005
By: Meghan Kloth
State Capital Bureau

State Auditor Claire McCaskill says the Missouri Highway Patrol is not doing their job to protect fellow officers. Meghan Kloth has more from Jefferson City.

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A new state audit shows the Missouri Highway Patrol is not processing criminal information fast enough. According to McCaskill, a backlog of data has built up, creating problems for officers just trying to do their jobs.

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"They check to see if this is someone who is arrested or been charged, and obviously that's important information to know if you are approaching someone as a law enforcement officer."

Fingerprint cards and conviction records are two examples of information not quickly updated. The Highway Patrol says a lack of resources caused the backup and they have now moved to a twenty-four hour system to increase processing. From the state capitol, I'm Meghan Kloth.

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A backup of records in the Missouri State Highway Patrol puts both police officers and the public in danger.

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An audit by Claire McCaskill's office shows that criminal records are delayed up to six weeks before they're entered into the computer system. Chris Ricks from the Missouri Highway Patrol says that any time a backlog of information exists, the public is in danger.

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"If a person is convicted of a crime and that doesn't get to us and that same individual comes and puts in for a school teacher's and we run their fingerprints, if it's not given to us, we're not going to be able to match it up."

The Highway Patrol has moved to a twenty-four hour system to process information more quickly and will work to more efficiently receive information from the courts. From the capitol, I'm Meghan Kloth

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According to a new state audit, police officers don't have all the information they need to safely do their jobs. Meghan Kloth has more from Jefferson City.

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Auditor Claire McCaskill's office found a backlog of criminal information within the Missouri State Highway Patrol. Data like arrest and conviction records are delayed up to six weeks before being entered into the computer system.

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"The worry here is that police officers don't enough information on the spot to keep them safe."

The Highway Patrol says the clogged system is due to lack of resources. Officials say they are developing new procedures and hiring new personnel to speed up processing. From the state capitol, I'm Meghan Kloth.