URL and the State of Iowa:  Working Together to Implement N-DEx

Justice agencies throughout the nation are increasingly recognizing the importance of integrating their information systems in order to share critical data. It is especially important for law enforcement agencies – in their role of initiating information about incidents and arrests – to be able to send that information in an automated fashion to other criminal justice partners. It’s equally important for them to have the ability to query rich information resources for information and relationships among people, places, and crime characteristics in their communities.

In recognition of this need to share and automate information, in 2006, the State of Iowa deployed a comprehensive cross-agency criminal justice information system (CJIS) initiative, which has resulted in enhanced information sharing processes, reductions in redundant data entry and errors, and improvements in the decision-making process throughout the criminal justice enterprise. Since the inception of the State of Iowa’s CJIS initiative, URL Integration has been an active vendor and participating partner, conducting business analysis and requirements, implementing information exchanges using national standards, and project managing the initiative that includes 11 state agencies, 99 counties, and over 200 municipal law enforcement agencies.

In addition to their robust CJIS program, the State of Iowa, in partnership with URL Integration, is embarking on a comprehensive effort to promote public and private partnerships between local law enforcement and the vendor community around the implementation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI’s) National Data Exchange (N-DEx) information program. Essentially, the N-DEx is a program that helps law enforcement agencies “connect the dots” with information about people, places, and property from agencies all across the country that may not initially seem related.

With a federal grant, URL and the State of Iowa are planning to implement the N-DEx exchange pervasively around the state by leveraging their existing Criminal Justice Information Sharing (CJIS) information sharing architecture – based entirely on justice best practices and standards, including the Global Reference Architecture (GRA), Justice Reference Architecture (JRA), Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) Web services, and the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM). Specifically, URL and the State of Iowa plan to work closely with local police agencies and the Records Management System (RMS) vendor community to stand up the N-DEx exchange throughout the state.  As many local law enforcement agencies use the Traffic and Criminal System (TraCS) for incident reporting, the project will also support the implementation of the N-DEx exchange with that system. Lastly, the grant will also promote the sharing of incident information with prosecutor Case Management Systems (CMS) throughout the State of Iowa.

The State of Iowa plans to implement a number of outreach and education activities with the local law enforcement community, as well as the RMS vendor community, in order to achieve the N-Dex exchange goals. The outreach will be focused on the information benefits of participating in N-DEx for local law enforcement, as well as the business benefits for RMS vendors of adopting the N-DEx exchange as part of their core product offerings.

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to help the State of Iowa leverage the CJIS infrastructure to implement N-DEx throughout the State,” said URL’s Chief Operating Officer and Iowa CJIS Engagement Manager, Rick McCoy.  “N-DEx provides such an important opportunity for more robust information sharing among law enforcement throughout the State and beyond.  This is an important extension of the State’s commitment to justice information sharing, and URL is proud to be a part of it.”

Working Together to Achieve Interoperability (PDF)