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Antiquated KBI crime-tracking IT system to be modernized with $3 million federal grant

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by Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector
October 11, 2022

TOPEKA — The director of the Kansas Bureau of Investigation said Tuesday a $3 million federal grant would vastly improve the state’s information technology system for tracking criminal incidents and arrests as well as enhance collaboration among local law enforcement agencies.

KBI director Kirk Thompson said funding through the U.S. Department of Justice would enable overhaul of the state agency’s antiquated Kansas Incident Based Reporting System. The money will complete work initiated with $200,000 from the Kansas Legislature and $300,000 put toward the project through internal reallocation within the KBI, he said.

KIBRS has been relied upon to track Kansas crime statistics for years, Thompson said, but it wasn’t sophisticated enough to perform rudimentary searches of criminal activity. Once updated, he said, the system would permit the KBI to support local law enforcement agencies with advanced mapping of crime trends, to connect the dots in a geographic region and assist with deployment of policing resources.

“Right now, it’s basically an accounting system,” the director said. “It’s very difficult for us to dig down into that data.”

In the future, Thompson said the 400 law enforcement agencies scattered across Kansas would be able to work on a uniform system for documenting reported crimes, quickly share information about those incidents and learn from the work of peers operating in other jurisdictions. The project could be fully online in about two years, he said.

U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Republican seeking reelection in November against Democrat Mark Holland, said he worked with colleagues in Washington to direct the Justice Department grant to the KBI.

He said the quest for IT funding was borne of a desire among federal lawmakers to broaden public investment in local law enforcement agencies in a period in which protests by Black Lives Matter and others raised questions about conduct of officers.

“There was talk about defunding police,” Moran said. “It became a political kind of mantra among some people. We decided that we were going to utilize our opportunity to fund police more.”

Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who is a candidate for governor in the Nov. 8 contest against Gov. Laura Kelly, said the federal aid would modernize an IT system critical to efficient operation of law enforcement officers. He said the decision was made to seek funding through Congress with Moran’s assistance rather than request resources from the Legislature or Kelly.

“This is all about making sure that Kansas law enforcement all over the state has the ability to access common data,” Schmidt said.

He said information generated by the KBI with advancement in the IT system would lead to improvement in appropriation of tax dollars and better training of officers.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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Derek Nester
Derek Nesterhttps://sunflowerstateradio.com
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2021 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.

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