Congressman Adam Smith announced today that several key law enforcement services in Washington state will receive additional federal funding which will allow the state to have the nation's first integrated statewide jail booking system and increase its efforts to fight the continued epidemic of methamphetamine use in Washington state.
The funding comes as part of H.R. 2500, the 2002 Commerce, Justice, and State Appropriations Conference Report, which passed the House of Representatives 411 - 15 and is expected to be signed by the President in the next week.
Smith's top priority, $1 million for the Washington Association of Sheriff and Police Chiefs (WASPC) to establish a statewide jail booking system, was granted in full.
WASPC began establishing a statewide jail booking, reporting and victim notification system in 2000 knowing that when implemented, the system would be a valuable asset to the Washington State criminal justice community by providing a computerized link between all county and city jails for the exchange of jail booking data. This information, which is currently not accessible statewide, would increase law enforcement’s ability to investigate crime, enhance officer safety and protect victims of crime.
The Washington State Jail booking, reporting and victim notification system will be unique to the United States - no other state has developed a similar system.
"A statewide jail booking system would increase Washington state law enforcement's ability to identify criminals and protect our citizens," explained Smith. "With so much travel between counties, it's imperative that, for example, Pierce County police officers know when a suspect is also wanted in King County. This system will ensure better communication between law enforcement agencies and will hopefully serve as a model to the rest of the country."
The $1 million request will allow WASPC to complete the project. The money will be used to assist the city and county law enforcement and correctional facilities throughout the state to integrate into the central site of the new statewide system.
Also, Smith is pleased that he was able to help secure $4 million -- twice as much federal funding as last year -- to fight the methamphetamine crisis in Washington state. The funding will be used to alleviate the rampant meth problem that penetrates all nine congressional districts.
“Methamphetamine abuse is causing many problems in our communities. It is not only damaging the drug abusers but also the abuser's family and neighbors,” Smith said. “Furthermore, it is an enormous public health risk, and cleanup costs are estimated to be close to $25,000 per site. This money was absolutely critical to combat this serious problem.”