Quijano & Singleton Bill to Facilitate Communication Between Law Enforcement Agencies Clears Committee

Information Sharing Council Would Seek Ways to Help Agencies Collaborate to Prevent Crime

Legislation Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano and Troy Singleton sponsored to facilitate criminal justice information sharing within New Jersey and between state and federal agencies was advanced Thursday by an Assembly committee.

“The 21st-century technology we have available makes it possible to share information quickly, but many agencies are still using outdated paper-based procedures,” said Quijano (D-Union). “This results in gaps, delays, errors and redundancies in the entry, exchange and processing of critical criminal justice information, problems that easily could be resolved with a statewide criminal justice information sharing environment.”

The bill (A-4058) would create the 15-member New Jersey Criminal Justice Information Sharing Environment Coordinating Council. The council would guide the design, development and implementation of a statewide, integrated criminal justice environment that would enable information sharing between federal, state, county and municipal criminal justice agencies.

“Enabling the free flow of information between criminal justice agencies can help better ensure the safety and security of New Jersey communities,” said Singleton (D-Burlington). “In a day and age when we have the capability to communicate with one another and share information at a moment’s notice, there’s no reason law enforcement agencies should face time-consuming communications-related obstacles to preventing and responding to criminal activity.”

The sponsors noted that the legislation would enhance public safety by providing criminal justice agencies and officials – including police officers, judges and corrections officers – with faster access to important criminal justice information at critical points in the justice process. The bill also would improve the efficiency of criminal justice agencies by reducing redundant data collection and entry, eliminating labor-intensive, time-consuming, paper-based processes and expanding the pool of statistical data available to state, county, and municipal officials for making and evaluating public policies.

The coordinating council would consist of the following 15 individuals or their designees: the attorney general, the superintendent of State Police, the director of the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness, the chair of the Urban Area Security Initiative, the commissioner of the Department of Corrections, the chair of the State Parole Board, the executive director of the Juvenile Justice Commission, the public defender, the chief technology officer of the Office of Information Technology, the Essex County prosecutor, the administrative director of the courts and one gubernatorial appointee each from the County Prosecutors Association of New Jersey, the Sheriffs’ Association of New Jersey, the New Jersey County Jail Wardens Association and the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police.

The measure was advanced by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee, of which Quijano is chair.