The Information Services section was established in 1985. At that time, the Regina Police Service utilized only an IBM Series1 mini computer. This hardware ran one simple application to compile basic Statistics Canada incident count information and supported name and incident number searches to identify a person’s role in an event. There were 12 terminals and one printer connected to this system. All office activities, including typing or calculations, were handled manually by typewriters, adding machines, or by two dedicated Wang Word Processors. Calls for service were dispatched totally by voice, with the dispatcher writing the nature of the call and car assigned to respond on a card. The card was time-stamped by a machine attached to the front of the desk and cards were manually counted to provide statistics on calls received.
Today, computerization significantly impacts every aspect of policing. The Regina Police Service now has an installed base of 400 desktop PCs and all 430 employees are “connected”.
In addition to the standard office systems such as word processing, e-mail, spreadsheets, scheduling, work roster applications and, of course, the Internet, members of the Regina Police Service now have access to a comprehensive police records system that records all aspects of a reportable offence, and provides investigators with information and alerts they need to solve a crime or series of crimes.
One of the most technically exciting systems is the AFIS fingerprint system. AFIS uses a complex algorithm to uniquely identify a fingerprint. The joining or ending of a ridge in a fingerprint is referred to as a minutiae point. AFIS locates the minutiae points and calculates distances between them as well as counting the number of ridges between minutiaes. It is this combination of ridge counts and the relationship of minutiae points that makes each fingerprint unique. AFIS is shared between numerous Police forces in western Canada. Regina, Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Lethbridge, and Medicine Hat all store 10 print data in the main computer system located in Calgary where the matching process occurs. This enables the Regina Police Service to search prints submitted by these other forces, thereby increasing the chances of identifying suspects.
Any individual arrested by the Regina Police Service experiences the Digital Mug shot system first hand. This system stores a photograph, allowing officers to create photo line-ups for suspect identification. DMS also records identifiers like height, weight, eye and hair colour, and even records tattoos and marks that can help identify people when required.
Another example of computerization in policing is the automated Computer Assisted Dispatch system (CAD) and mobile data terminals (MDTs) which assist in dispatching cars to calls. Officers receive dispatch instructions via the MDT and can use the MDT to ask for information from other systems. The system automatically time stamps all aspects of a call for service, including the time the call is received, when the car is dispatched, en-route, arrived at scene, and concluded. The old punch clocks are long gone. CAD is interfaced to 9-1-1, so address and phone information is automatically and very quickly submitted to the attending officer, speeding up response time in those critical calls where time is such an important factor.
The Information Services section is comprised of 6 civilian members who develop, enhance and support all these various systems and users.