Easy Access To Crash Reports

Did you know that we Kentuckians drive over 47 billion miles a year and average over 145,000 traffic crashes reported annually? In 2009, approximately one out of sixteen licensed drivers in Kentucky was involved in some type of automobile crash. Although some of these crashes have tragic consequences, thankfully about two thirds of these crashes only involve some type of property damage. As a result, thousands of police reports are generated and requested by involved motorists, insurance companies, and attorneys each year in our state to be used in civil and criminal suits that often follow.

In response to this demand for timely information, the Kentucky State Police developed a program entitled BuyCRASH.com to allow affected citizens to purchase their accident reports from a secure website. This online service was released near the end of 2008 and has already shown to be a tremendous convenience to the public. Although not all jurisdictions are participating in the program, currently over one hundred police agencies across the Commonwealth are involved selling over 43,000 reports online last year.

Although accessing the new BuyCRASH report is a bit more expensive, the $10.00 fee generates additional revenues that are used for administrative services and hardware maintenance to keep the system as robust as possible. While many agencies still offer the traditional ‘walk-in’ service that is $5.00, we are seeing that many customers prefer the online convenience of BuyCRASH that’s saves both time and gasoline.

The BuyCRASH reporting system is easy to use and access. After completing the traffic collision report, the investigating officer gives each affected motorist an instructional card that details the step by step process to purchase the report online. As previously noted, traffic reports may still be purchased from the agency that investigates your crash. The BuyCRASH is another exciting program that the Kentucky State Police is offering to the citizens that we serve.


KSP Participates in the World Equestrian Games

After much planning and fanfare, the World Equestrian Games (WEG) came to a close on October 10, 2010. Our agency began planning for the sixteen day event nearly eighteen months ago with assistance provided by the Lexington-Metro Police Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and many others. The WEG event involved over 125 of our personnel from various assignments. By every account, the detail was a huge success.

The preparation and attention to detail for WEG was unprecedented. I received numerous positive comments from attendees, dignitaries, and royalty regarding the professionalism of our agency. With visitors from fifty-one countries attending, it truly cast the Kentucky State Police in the international spotlight. Historically speaking, it was one of the largest details that we have ever coordinated.

Amidst all of the accolades and praise, there was one particular incident that became a defining moment in my mind. A photograph taken by Tim Webb for the Courier-Journal captured a Sergeant and a Trooper lifting a Para Olympian in her wheelchair onto the awards platform after an event to receive her medal. The photograph is both touching and compelling. It truly solidifies who and what our agency is all about. It clearly represents our core mission of helping people, in good times and bad. I’m sure that the German rider shown in the photo will bask in the glow of her accomplishments for years to come. I’m equally certain that two gray uniforms displaying grace and professionalism from another part of the world will be pleasantly intertwined in those memories. If a picture really is worth a thousand words, then this photograph must be worth a million.

Many thanks to everyone who helped make the WEG event a success, including those personnel who were ‘left behind’ to maintain operations and answer calls for service. I am truly proud to be part of such an incredible group of men and women that consistently deliver a high level of professionalism and customer service. Our people are what make us great!


KSP is Solving Crimes Through Scientific Technology

Many of those who know the intricate design of Kentucky’s Automated Fingerprint Identification Section (AFIS) have deemed it one of our agency’s best kept secrets. The complexity of what AFIS does and how the operations of the Kentucky State Police depend heavily on it, is often overlooked, even by most law enforcement personnel across the state of Kentucky. Television shows have made the phenomenon of forensics popular but sometimes unrealistic across the nation. However, latent fingerprinting plays a vital role in crime solving and has made tremendous advancements over the past few decades. Previously, the only way to store and classify criminal fingerprint cards was using the Henry System. However, due to continued technological improvements we are now able to store all fingerprint data, along with arrest descriptors, in digital form. This allows for millions of records to be stored in a small space and quickly retrieved. Since most prints are submitted electronically, via the LiveScan we are able to submit criminal arrests straight into the criminal history database. The AFIS system allows fingerprint analysts to perform thousands of comparisons in seconds to a databank of known prints. Fifty years ago an analyst could spend up to an hour making just one ten print comparison.

This section is responsible for supporting the State’s Criminal History Repository, maintaining the state’s criminal print database, and the development and identification of latent prints. Each process complements the other making them intermeshed and codependent. As a section, AFIS is broken down into three major groups: Tenprint Operations, Latent Operations, and AFIS System Administration. Tenprint Operations have the responsibility of overseeing entry and/or verification of the fingerprint records into the Automated Fingerprint Identification System. After a criminal booking is complete, prints submitted from the jail pass through a verification process that may require a tenprint operator to do a manual verification on the prints. This ensures that a new arrest is added to a criminals previous arrest record, or if necessary a new arrest record is created. The rolled fingerprint cards received via mail are always entered and verified by these operators. They also play a major role in the background check of thousands of individuals every year. Positions in the state of Kentucky that require a state or federal background check, via a set of fingerprints, will always require the tenprint operator’s assistance. Many criminals believe giving false information will allow them to deceive AFIS, but no matter the name, date of birth, or other demographic information the criminal gives at the time of arrest, AFIS will make a positive identification through fingerprint verification if a previous record exists. Many arrest records will have several aliases or different dates of birth, but the same prints. This is why AFIS is vital to background checks.

Occasionally a situation arises when an individual who has been previously arrested for sex offenses in Kentucky has seemingly “slipped” through the system into a position that poses a threat to the children they interact with. Those situations have spawned many to ask the question, “How does a previous sex offender get a job as a school teacher or as a bus driver?” The answers to questions like this lie within the scope of fingerprinting. To give a simple answer to the question, the individual was never fingerprinted on the previous sex offense. Without a set of fingerprints supporting an arrest, the arrest will never go into the fingerprint database. In short, if no prints are entered into the system, no confirmation will occur when entering the subject into the system. This link inspired recent legislation in Kentucky that mandated every jail across the state to fingerprint criminals before their release. Every jail in the state has been provided the equipment needed to ensure that criminal fingerprints are properly submitted (i.e., LiveScan or ink and cards).

The latent section, which is often recognized for its ability to link a criminal to a crime through the development of latent prints, houses some of the most experienced latent examiners in the state. The average amount of years of experience in fingerprint examination and identification among the current five latent examiners is nearly 20 years. In a specialty profession like this, experience is vital to courtroom testimony and latent print comparison. These examiners process cases not only for the Kentucky State Police, but also for hundreds of other agencies across the state.

Fingerprints are the most commonly used forensic evidence for criminal casework worldwide. For this reason, each latent examiner will normally process hundreds of cases a year. The techniques they use vary from super glue and black powder processing to chemical and alternate light source processing. The Kentucky State Police uses the Latent Analyst to train cadets and other officers to develop latent prints in the field and can be called upon at any time for questions regarding latent processing. The role of a latent examiner does not only exist within the laboratory and classroom, but also in the field. Though many officers are trained in the science of latent print recovery, analysts who do it several times a day bring experience and refined technique to the case. As a result, Kentucky State Police (KSP) Latent Fingerprint Analysts are often called on by our agency or others in the event of a major crime scene or cases involving an unknown deceased.

In 2009, the KSP Latent Fingerprint Database contained 28,215 files and subsequently, there were 374 suspect identifications, 175 AFIS hits and 379 reverse search hits. A reverse search hit is one in which a previously unidentified latent fingerprint which were stored in an unsolved case database has been identified because the suspect has been arrested for another unrelated crime and their known fingerprints have been automatically compared with all the unsolved case fingerprints. So far in 2010, the AFIS Branch has reduced the backlog from 800 cases to now currently 130. The oldest cases they are currently working are approximately two weeks old.

At the root of Tenprint and Latent operations is System Administration, the most vital part of AFIS. The AFIS System is comprised of a very intricate computer system that runs over 120 LiveScans across the state, as well as eleven ID Stations, eleven Review Stations, and a Multi-Print Station. Consultants are accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week run this entire state system. It wasn’t until the last few decades that the science of fingerprints was able to benefit from the luxury of computers. The job of the System Analysts is to make sure all computer systems continue to run properly and are kept error free, as well as work with other computer systems analysts within the Records Branch to make sure all criminal arrest data flows easily. System Administration has been referred to as the “heart” of AFIS, and rightly so because without it Tenprint and Latent Operations would not be able to process, maintain, and utilize the millions of prints in the State of Kentucky’s Fingerprint Database.


KSP Honor Guard

Did you know that the Kentucky State Police has a nationally acclaimed Honor Guard Unit?

During my travels throughout the United States and the World, I have long believed that the Kentucky State Police Honor Guard is among the best I’ve ever seen. That belief was solidified on May 14, 2010, when they placed first in the Fraternal Order of Police National Honor Guard competition in Washington, D.C.

Even more incredible is the fact that the KSP Honor Guard achieved this accomplishment as first time competitors; a first in this event. Judged by the 3rd United States Infantry Regiment known as the ‘Old Guard’, the teams were graded in three categories: inspection, posting of colors, and exhibition. Amazingly, the KSP team was number one in each category which turned out to be another first in the competitions’ records books.

Taking home the gold medal was made possible by a lot of people. Aside from the timeless efforts and commitment by our Honor Guard, many others contributed to their success. Numerous Post and Section personnel unselfishly filled the gaps in schedules and took on extra job duties. Vehicles and equipment were made ready by support and administrative personnel. Relatives of the team gave up valuable family time during the weeks of tedious drill and practice that have transpired over the past several months. Several private businesses donated a state of the art trailer with graphics and a casket for flag folding exercises. Winning first place truly was a team effort.

To learn more about the competition and see photographs of the event, visit our agency intranet site and click on the ‘Honor Guard’ icon. This achievement by your Honor Guard is truly an accomplishment that every member of our agency can be proud of. Although I am not in the habit of resting on our laurels, it certainly is nice to bask in the knowledge that our Honor Guard is the best in the nation. I suppose I knew it all along. Kudos to the best police honor guard in the United States!

Trooper Island Camp

Were you aware that the Kentucky State Police operates a camp for underprivileged children called Trooper Island? Located on Dale Hollow Lake, it was established in 1965 to provide a recreational site for kids throughout the state who could not afford to attend a summer camp. More importantly is the interaction that occurs between troopers and kids during this camping experience, leaving many with a newfound respect for law enforcement. Ten to twelve year olds are selected each year by troopers in all 120 counties to attend.

Trooper Island goes beyond the traditional camping experiences of boating, swimming, fishing, movies and campfires. Citizenship, patriotism, values and personal hygiene are also incorporated into the curriculum. Although early record keeping was lacking, it is estimated that over 25,000 kids have participated in the Trooper Island experience to date.

The camp continues to grow and expand on its’ mission. The camp has been involved in special weeks for the hearing/visually impaired, children awaiting an organ transplant, children with PKU (an eating disorder) and Hispanic youngsters. A scholarship program was recently established to offer financial assistance to future college hopefuls to help further their education.

The camp is free to campers and operates without the aid of tax dollars. Although many fundraisers are held throughout the year to defray operating coasts, our biggest one is currently underway. This year we are selling $10.00 chances on a beautiful 2010 Chevrolet Camaro from Herb Kinman Chevrolet in Carrollton. Tickets can be purchased at any state police post or from our Media Relations Branch at 502.695.6344. You can learn more about this fundraiser and Trooper Island by going to our website at kentuckystatepolice.org. Trooper Island is a 501c3 organization and all donations are tax deductible.

Trooper Island is arguably one of the best programs that our agency has ever created and I am very proud to be a part of it. It is a weeklong experience that truly lasts a lifetime.