CHEYENNE – Before the Wyoming Legislature’s Joint Judiciary Committee on Thursday, officials from the Criminal Investigations Division announced that of 58 law enforcement agencies in Wyoming, 40 are in compliance with the national reporting system Federal Bureau of Investigation incidents. The Sheridan County Sheriff’s Office and the Sheridan Police Department are reporting crime statistics to the NIBRS, according to documents presented to the judiciary committee on Thursday.
âLaw enforcement as a whole in Wyoming is currently doing a good job of complying with NIBRS,â DCI Acting Director Forrest âFrostyâ Williams told the Judiciary Committee.
Understanding the prevalence and types of crime committed in a community is essential for formulating good public policies, evaluating existing crime reduction programs, and developing requests for funding for law enforcement or new criminal justice programs, Art Washut representative R-Casper explained to the Committee.
Unfortunately, Washut said, the FBI Uniform Crime Report summary reporting system, the primary repository for crime statistics in the United States, does not provide a comprehensive overview of crime in America or in individualized municipalities. For example, Washut explained, the SRS only includes the most serious crime committed in a single incident, even if the incident involved multiple criminal acts.
The SRS also only offers statistics on arrests – as opposed to statistics on convictions, sentences imposed, recidivism and other significant criminal justice data points – on “Part II” crimes or crimes. crimes that the FBI considers less serious. According to the FBI’s definitions of offenses, these Part II crimes include drug offenses, counterfeiting, embezzlement, vandalism, and impaired driving, among other offenses.
Due to the limitations of the SRS, Washut said, the FBI cannot create an accurate picture of crime in the United States or Wyoming. As such, Washut explained, the FBI planned to eliminate the SRS and initiate a full switch to NIBRS in early 2021.
The NIBRS records data on more than 50 criminal offenses and can include up to 10 offenses committed in a single incident, Washut said. According to the FBI, the NIBRS also collects more detailed information on the circumstances surrounding the crimes, including victim-offender relationships, demographics and whereabouts, and whether the offenses are gang-related or cybercrime-related, between other important measures.
The main problem with NIBRS is the agency participation rate. Although the technology was developed in the late 1980s, the first NIBRS report was not generated until 2011, Washut said, and only about 32% of U.S. law enforcement agencies participated this year. -the. According to the FBI’s Crime Data Explorer Dashboard, many states – particularly high-population states like Florida, California, New York, and New Jersey where evolving crime reporting policies are particularly heavy – do not Still not report crime data to NIBRS.
Wyoming, however, became NIBRS compliant in 2018. Wyoming’s nearly 70% reporting record remains well above the national average of around 40% of reporting agencies, Williams said. That’s well above the national average of about 40% of reporting agencies, according to Williams.
Law enforcement agencies in Sheridan also report to NIBRS. Anyone can access SPD and SCSO crime data through the FBI’s online dashboard.
According to SPD Head of Administrative Services Jennifer Shassetz, the SPD started testing the NIBRS reports in November 2020 and fully implemented them in May 2021. The implementation of NIBRS has gone “very well” in the department, according to the head of the SPD Travis Koltiska. In fact, Koltiska said, the SPD was one of the first departments in Wyoming to practice NIBRS reporting.
Sheridan County Sheriff Allen Thompson said SCSO also became NIBRS compliant earlier this year, after the office’s NIBRS technician was trained last year.
âSo far, everything is fine,â Thompson said of the NIBRS deployment process at his agency.
State-wide and local, however, there is still work to be done to become NIBRS compliant.
Although most of the non-compliant agencies are small town police departments, some large law enforcement agencies in Wyoming – namely the Wyoming Highway Patrol – still do not report crime data to the NIBRS. Williams said WHP is currently working with its data management contractor to comply with the registration system, but has yet to adhere to NIBRS requirements.
The tedious process of entering NIBRS data has created problems for many agencies in Wyoming. It takes about 30 minutes for a clerk to create a NIBRS-caliber incident report, Crook County Sheriff Jeff Hodge told the Judiciary Committee.
This problem, however, did not cause too many delays locally. While entering data into the NIBRS certainly takes longer, Koltiska said, SPD has been able to keep pace with NIBRS reports because a module of its case management software streamlines data entry, without remove humans from the process.
So far, Thompson said, the sheriff’s office has not had to hire additional staff to meet the data entry requirements of the NIBRS, as it is one of the smaller agencies reporting statistics. at NIBRS. But, the sheriff said, SCSO might consider purchasing software such as SPD to make the data entry process more efficient in the future.
DCI officials will report Wyoming’s NIBRS compliance again to the Judiciary Committee in spring 2022.