A computerized Criminal Justice by Melvin F. Boekelman Police Dept., Kansas City, Mo We live today, in a time in which 90% of the scientists who have ever lived, are now living; at a time in which knowledge, that prior to this century doubled every 50 years, now doubles every five years; a time in which the dramatic technological advances of the electronic computer have given us the capability to calculate information 500 times faster than we could prior to World War II. Leading economists have stated that automation is by now so deeply implanted in our economy that we are beyond the point of no return to non-automated systems. As a result of its powerful calculating capabilities, the electronic computer is today making us aware of many facts and theories that have been hidden from us since the beginning of time. It is the computer, more than any other facet of modern day technology, that is providing the capability to solve the complex problems of our environment. While overwhelming evidence convincingly supports automation, we have been confronted with a great uproar of anti-computerism from segments of our society. There is a fear that reducing the human being to a number means the loss of identity and that this is representative of all that is demoralizing and degrading to our society. It has been suggested that people hate computers because they are the first machine in history to really move in on our intellectual and emotional lives. The machine is suspected of recording everything in our lives from the womb to the tomb, and is thought to replace the activities of numerous individuals. Records that can tell a great deal about one's activities, habits, associations and personality characteristics can be, and are stored in the memory bank of a computer. If the data were made available under unauthorized or unethical circumstances, the result could be damaging to the individual, and eventually, to society. However, computers are by nature like all other machines, functioning in a state of neutrality. Just as they can be used against humanity, they can operate in the service of mankind. Computerized information systems properly designed and operating in an environment where management is exercising proper controls, can provide much greater security than ever possible under manually maintained record systems. The vigorous use of these machines under controlled circumstances will prove a positive resource for the nation and the improvement of the quality of our lives. The criminal justice system in the USA has been slow in casting aside old, outmoded, and antiquated ways of operating. Today the picture is changing rapidly as a result of automation and so are the social implications that result from the new technologies. The Kansas City Regional Criminal Justice System uses the computer to protect the public, assist the victim, apprehend the criminal, and process the case with all the efficiency and security that can be commanded from present day technology. Records show that the Criminal Justice Data Bank Alert II is being accessed for entry of data or for inquiry of information an average of 35 times every minute of a 24 hour day. The Kansas City Regional computer is exchanging information automatically with the FBI's National Criminal Information Center 3,000 times each day. It’s data base is extensive, and records on-line 26 major categories of information which total over one million on-line records. In the system, 1,000 subjects who are known to be armed, dangerous, or likely to resist arrest, are tagged. An individual's right to privacy, whether he is a criminal or not, however, must be protected, and this is conscientiously considered in the use of the system. Mobile terminals, instead of the traditional radio systems greatly enhance the privacy and security of criminal justice data. Manual and software controls range from administering extensive personality tests to computer applicants to installing bullet proof security walls in the computer complex. Procedural Instruction 73-3 prohibits the processing of any report without the approval of the Criminal Justice Agency, and many strict policy statements about who can use the information and what he can do with it are other steps taken by the department to protect the security and confidentiality of the system. *Condensed from an article in Computer & Society, Vol. 6, No. 1.