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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 9, 1998202/307-0703


Grants Will Improve Criminal History Records Vital to National Check System

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- At the White House today, President Clinton announced that 46 states are receiving grants totaling more than $41 million to continue improving criminal history records, which will help keep felons from purchasing handguns. This is the fourth year of funding under the National Criminal History Improvement Program (NCHIP), administered by the Justice Department's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

"Too many violent criminals are able to buy firearms and commit crimes within hours of the purchase," said President Clinton. "These grants will allow states to continue improving their criminal history records and share them--to ensure that firearms do not end up in the wrong hands."

In June of this year, BJS reported that an estimated 69,000 handgun sales were blocked during 1997 through presale background checks. About 62 percent of the 1997 rejections were based on a prior felony conviction or a current felony indictment. Between the effective date of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act in February 1994 and December 31, 1997, there were an estimated 242,000 potential purchases stopped because of background checks, according to BJS.

One of the primary reasons states are receiving these funds is so criminal records can be shared nationally through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS), which is being developed by the FBI and will be operational next month. NICS will enable firearms dealers to obtain instant background checks in connection with sales to keep criminals from purchasing guns.

The criminal history records are also vital for keeping individuals who are dangerous to others from getting jobs where they have access to children, the elderly or disabled individuals. Accurate and accessible records also help courts avoid granting bail to individuals who may pose a danger to the community and also permit law enforcement officials to know if individuals questioned or detained have criminal histories.

"Accurate and accessible criminal records help keep communities safe," said Attorney General Janet Reno. "More complete criminal histories can help police and prosecutors keep dangerous criminals off the streets ."

Criminal history records are fingerprint cards or their electronic counterparts, linked with information about arrests, convictions and sentences, when available. NCHIP funds are used to modernize criminal history records systems, including automated fingerprint identification. In addition to making general improvements, states may use NCHIP funds to develop record systems to better protect victims of stalking, domestic violence and child abuse by exchanging records of protection orders as well as convictions.

Every state that applied for a Fiscal Year 1998 NCHIP grant is receiving one. The attached chart includes the amount of each award, the agency within the state that will receive the funds and a state contact. Kentucky, Maryland, Mississippi and Nevada will receive grants later this year. The District of Columbia did not apply for FY 1998 NCHIP funds; however, it received NCHIP funds in previous years.

The awards being announced today bring the total amount distributed in direct awards to states under NCHIP to over $200 million. The President has requested $45 million for NCHIP in Fiscal Year 1999.

For additional information about BJS and its programs, go to the BJS web site at:

For additional information about OJP and its programs, go to the OJP web site at:

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BJS 98-209

After hours page Doug Johnson at 1-888/582-6750




Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, Montgomery, AL Therese Ford,
Alaska Department of Public Safety, Anchorage, AK Diane Schenker, 907/269-5092
Arizona Criminal Justice Commission, Phoenix, AZ Gerald E. Hardt, 602/542-1928
Arkansas Crime Information Center, Little Rock, AR Larry Cockrell, 501/682-2222
California Department of Justice, Bureau of Criminal Identification and Information, Sacramento, CA Gary Maggy,
Colorado Department of Public Safety, Division of Criminal Justice, Denver, CO John Inmann,
Connecticut Office of Policy and Management, Hartford, CT Theron A. Schnure, 860/418-6390
Delaware State Bureau of Identification, Division of State Police, Dover, DE Capt. David Deputy, 302/739-5872
District of Columbia Metropolitan Police Department, Washington, DC Deborah L. Wright, 202/727-4301
Did not apply
Florida Department of Community Affairs, Tallahassee, FL Clayton Wilder, 904/488-8016
Georgia Crime Information Center, Decatur, GA Bill Holland,
Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center, Honolulu, HI Liane Moriyama, 808/587-3110
Idaho Department of Law Enforcement, Meridian, ID Robert Taylor,
Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Chicago, IL Candice Kane, 312/793-8550
Indiana Criminal Justice Institute, Indianapolis, IN Kevin Sifferlen, 317/232-1233
Iowa Department of Public Safety, Des Moines, IA Tim McDonald, 515/281-5138
Kansas Criminal Justice Coordinating Council, Topeka, KS Barbara Tombs, 913/296-0923
Kentucky Justice Cabinet, Frankfort, KY Mike Fulkerson, 502/564-3251
To be awarded
Louisiana Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Criminal Justice, Baton Rouge, LA Carle Jackson, 504/925-4429
Maine Bureau of State Police, Augusta, ME Maj. Jeffrey Harmon, 207/624-7062
Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, Pikesville, MD Barbara King,
To be awarded
Massachusetts Committee on Criminal Justice, Boston, MA Richard St. Louis, 617/727-6300
Michigan Department of State Police, Lansing, MI David Turner,
Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, St. Paul, MN Karen McDonald, 612/642-0687
Mississippi Department of Public Safety, Jackson, MS Jimmy Dukes,
To be awarded
Missouri State Highway Patrol, Jefferson City, MO Lt. Robert E. Gartner, 573/526-6160
Montana Board of Crime Control, Helena, MT Thomas Murphy, 406/444-4298
Nebraska State Patrol, Lincoln, NE Lathan Rohren, 402/479-4938
Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles and Public Safety, Carson City, NV Dennis A. Debacco, 702/687-8784
To be awarded
New Hampshire Office of the Attorney General, Concord, NH Mark C. Thompson, 603/271-3658
New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Trenton, NJ Steven C. Talpas, 609/984-0634
New Mexico Department of Public Safety, Santa Fe, NM Irene Trujillo,
New York Integrated Systems Development Unit, Division of Criminal Justice Services, Albany, NY James F. Shea, 518/457-6075
North Carolina Governor's Crime Commission, Raleigh, NC David E. Jones, 919/571-4736
North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation, Bismarck, ND Robert J. Helten, 701/328-5500
Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services, Columbus, OH Melissa J. Winesburg, 614/466-7782
Oklahoma District Attorneys Council, Oklahoma City, OK Gayle Caldwell, 405/557-6707
Oregon Department of State Police, Salem, OR Beverlee Venell, 503/378-3720
Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency, Harrisburg, PA James Thomas,
Puerto Rico Criminal Justice Information Systems Office San Juan, PR Alfonso Golderos, 787/729-2121
Rhode Island Governor's Justice Commission, Providence, RI Norman Dakake, 401/277-4499
South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Columbia, SC Maj. Mark Huguley, 803/896-7142
South Dakota Office of the Attorney General, Division of Criminal Investigation, Pierre, SD Judi Schneider,
Tennessee Department of Finance and Administration, Nashville, TN Patricia Dishman, 615/741-8277
Texas Criminal Justice Policy Council, Austin, TX Gene Draper,
Utah Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice, Salt Lake City, UT Richard Ziebarth, 801/538-1812
Vermont Department of Public Safety, Waterbury, VT Philip Colby,
Virginia State Police, Richmond, VA Lt. Col. Harry M. Durham,
Washington Office of Financial Management, Olympia, WA Gary Robinson,
West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety, Charleston, WV Michael Cutlip,
Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance, Madison, WI Stephen Grohmann, 608/266-7185
Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation, Cheyenne, WY James Wilson,