Cook County Board Approves New Technology Modernizing Data Systems Used by Justice Agencies

December 16, 2015

Cook County’s justice agencies will soon be getting a new “bus” – not the kind with four wheels, but a system to allow the various agencies to cross the digital divide with long-needed modernization.

The Cook County Board today approved the $2.3 million purchase of an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) to facilitate communications between the different software applications used by each of the County’s justice agencies: Chief Judge, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Public Defender, Sheriff, State’s Attorney and the Bureau of Technology, which operates under the Office of County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

“The benefits of having a way to seamlessly translate and transfer data between all of Cook County’s justice agencies are enormous,” Preckwinkle said. “The ESB creates the potential for more rapid identification of suspected offenders, significantly reduces our dependence on expensive and inefficient data entry and helps prevent situations where detainees are released too soon or too late due to miscommunication.”

Preckwinkle cautioned, however, that the potential benefits of the new system will depend on process improvements and buy-in from the justice agencies who use it.

“Improving communication between software systems is a key step in improving the justice system in Cook County, but once the system is implemented it will be up to the justice agencies to take advantage of the opportunity,” Preckwinkle said.

She added, “The bus can significantly improve key processes in the justice system, and I am committed to doing all I can to facilitate progress.”

History

This bus has been a long time coming. On April 23, 2002, the Cook County Board adopted Resolution 02-R-216, establishing the Cook County Integrated Criminal Justice Information Systems (“CCICJIS”) Committee, whose purpose was to develop an integrated criminal justice enterprise for Cook County.

The CCICJIS Committee subsequently published a strategic plan detailing issues directly affecting the integration of the County’s criminal justice enterprise. In response, the Board adopted Resolutions 04-R-255 and 06-R-233 requesting a Detailed Plan of Action from the CCICJIS Committee.

The resulting 2006 Detailed Plan of Action contained various recommendations, including the recommendation that the County establish an Enterprise Service Bus (“ESB”) to facilitate the communication of data among disparate systems operated by each of the criminal justice agencies.

On October 23, 2013, the Cook County Board adopted Resolution 13-1945 asking the Cook County Chief Information Officer to convene the CCICJIS Technology Workgroup and discuss data exchange needs among the County’s criminal justice agencies.

Today the Cook County Bureau of Technology, under President Preckwinkle, was given approval by the Board for the implementation of ESB software and hardware, as well as development and managed services for data exchanges among County criminal justice agencies.