NC IT Roadmap - Public Safety

“Keeping North Carolina safe means preventing crime, helping crime victims recover, and working to end addiction and repeat offenders. Innovative public safety efforts in communities across our state are tackling these issues on the ground.”

- Governor Cooper

Public safety technology is helping agencies think, plan, and act strategically to support improved safety services. We are streamlining operations, enhancing both the speed and quality of actions protecting the public, preventing crime, and maintaining the public’s trust. We are adopting new technologies, smart systems and disruptive technologies to advance new plans, policies, and programs in the public interest, including body-worn cameras, use of drones, automated license plate readers, cellphone/contraband interdiction screening in prisons, and use of business intelligence and analytics.

We are committed to improving the quality of life for North Carolinians by reducing crime and enhancing public safety. Adopting new technologies will help to support public safety strategies, increased efficiencies and transparency, that when strategically managed and deployed, can help to promote and ensure safety of the public across wide-ranging situations and environments.

Emergency Management

One of the key responsibilities of government is to reduce the harmful effects of all hazards, including disasters. Government has a role in managing all humanitarian aspects of emergencies (preparedness, response, mitigation, and recovery). Information technology enables faster, more comprehensive responses to emergencies, whether caused by natural disasters or other situations. We will continue to incorporate IT into emergency management regular preparedness and response practices going forward, so that we can significantly reduce the chaos of these inherently fraught situations.

Disaster Preparedness: We will improve our ability to support the state during hurricanes and other natural disasters, making sure we have the resources needed to continue serving our communities. During Hurricane Florence we took a new approach, fully integrating the IT teams into the emergency management efforts. For the first time GIS, along with new technologies (such as UAS) and new data were utilized to a high degree during a major emergency event. For example, we:

  • Fully integrated DIT staff in the Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

  • Fielded phone calls to the EOC from citizens and the national and local media.
  • Distributed news releases warning of potential cyber attacks during the hurricane.
  • Connected NC HealthConnex, our health information exchange (HIE), to other state HIEs.
  • Developed visuals and alerts for government websites on-the-fly.
  • Stood up a new website and digital resources for people to donate to the North Carolina Disaster Relief Fund.
  • Developed an interactive, searchable map of hurricane shelters.

While great strides were made to better respond to Hurricane Florence and its aftermath, more can be done. We are working to capitalize on these advances while also improving communication and data sharing among federal, state, and local agencies.

State Emergency Response Application (SERA): Floor plan schematics for all the state's K-12 public schools have been incorporated into SERA, including nearly 3,000 school locations. This data is being leveraged in the School Risk Management Plan (SRMP) tool, that leverages the collected school, building and asset data to facilitate the creation of school risk management plans in a consistent manner.

SERA enables school officials, law enforcement officers, emergency managers and first responders to access school floorplans and critical building asset data for emergency response. NC Emergency Management (NCEM) has established partnerships with the University of North Carolina system, the NC Community College system and the DPS Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice (DACJJ) to add floorplans from colleges and universities, community colleges, adult and juvenile correctional facilities and other public buildings. 

Improvements such as panic buttons for educators are being considered. The NCEM Risk Management division is looking to acquiring and pilot a digital panic alarm software that will enable direct alerts and 911 calls to public safety answering points and will display real-time movement of teachers in schools and staff in correctional facilities within the SERA application.

Crime Control and Justice

Criminal Justice Law Enforcement Automated Data Services (CJLEADS): CJLEADS is a secure, centralized database of comprehensive, up-to-date information about offenders for use by state and local government criminal justice professionals. CJLEADS supports criminal justice professionals by providing access to criminal records on any device, at any time. The system provides comprehensive, real-time information to support officers in the field with access to local, state, and federal information. Several enhancements coming this year include coordinated efforts with the State Bureau of Investigations for obtaining federal data queries, continued expansion of the capabilities of the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) notification utility, and integration of active warrants associated with probation violations.

Crime Lab Analytics: The NC Department of Justice State Crime Lab is working with the Government Data Analytics Center (GDAC) to expand access to information used by investigators, DNA scientists, prosecutors and other criminal justice professionals to improve operational effectiveness and reduce costs. The current system is used to:

  • Match active crime lab cases to AOC court records to identify crime lab cases that no longer require analysis.
  • Integrate DNA on file flag within CJLEADS to notify law enforcement professionals that DNA has already been processed; reduce the number of duplicate cases.
  • Integrate a flag within CJLEADS to notify law enforcement professionals of offenders who are required by law to provide DNA.
  • Evaluate current blood sample inventory and identify samples which no longer require storage.

GDAC is working to develop an operational dashboard and reporting environment to measure performance and effectiveness of the system. This will include two primary components:

  • DNA outcome metrics - Tracking State Crime Lab DNA analyses that have matched to an individual in the National Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) and providing operational metrics supporting the arrest and conviction of offenders.
  • Sexual Assault Evidence Collection Kits (SAECK) metrics – Providing performance metrics on DNA records which supported the arrest and conviction of offenders. These metrics will be used to improve operational effectiveness, and to support Federal grant funding requirements.

Fusion Center - The North Carolina Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAAC): The NC Department of Public Safety (DPS) and NC Department of Information Technology (DIT) are working together to combat cyberattacks under a new program through our Fusion Center – the NC Information Sharing and Analysis Center (ISAAC). This program will focus on promoting cyber awareness and information sharing. It will also provide actionable cyber intelligence to private and public sector partners and citizens.

“We at DPS and the SBI are excited to be working with N.C. DIT and our other partners on this significant improvement in our cyber threat-management capability."

- Erik Hooks, Secretary NC Department of Public Safety

This effort will help guard against cyber threats and increase information sharing of threats across multiple state entities and boundaries and increase the speed of information sharing. Increasing coordination will increase the speed of detection, identification and recovery from cyber incidents.

Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice

Adult Corrections iNet: DPS is in the process of creating iNet, a future statewide network that will allow DPS entities like Correction Enterprises to store business applications and data that inmates can use while they work. The iNet will be controlled and monitored, and completely separate from the DPS network. It will also be used for training and educating inmates and has future plans to include table computer-based initiatives that provide learning and entertaining resources while in DPS facilities.

Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention: The state is committed to reducing and preventing juvenile delinquency. To support these objectives, the Division of Adult Correction and Juvenile Justice (DACJJ) received a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice to implement a juvenile re-entry plan. GDAC was brought in to develop applications to integrate and analyze data available both internal and external to the DACJJ systems. Together, DACJJ and GDAC integrated juvenile record data with adult criminal court and probation records, which allowed for tracking of metrics associated with recidivism and analysis of juvenile typologies. Going forward, GDAC will enhance reporting capabilities and incorporate interactive visual analytics to support recidivism and performance analysis. In addition, GDAC has developed a juvenile services catalog to support juvenile justice court counselors, helping them identify and recommend services for juveniles and families in need of support. This catalog will be published in a portal for public use.

Contraband Interdiction Screening in Prisons: The State’s correctional system channels criminals away from the public and through a process that includes incarceration, rehabilitation, and reintegration. Contraband in correctional facilities has been shown to pose a significant threat to the safety of correctional officers and staff, other prisoners, and the general public. Correctional facilities benefit from smart technologies that when implemented, can quickly detect and confiscate contraband and serve a role of initial deterrence.

In an effort to combat threats from within and outside facilities, the Department of Public Safety recently commissioned a study on Improving Staffing and Security in North Carolina Prisons. In part, the study recommended improvements in cellphone, contraband, and interdiction strategies that would benefit from the use of innovative technology countermeasures to address this problem.