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    Counties share Juvenile Justice Database

    For the first time in Texas, two counties began sharing a common juvenile justice database this weekend with the rollout of the new, jointly developed software program. Tarrant and Dallas Counties have joined together to implement the Juvenile Case Management System (JCMS), which can track individuals entered into the database by either county.

    "This is a major accomplishment and a great milestone achieved," said Tarrant County Administrator G.K. Maenius. "We have been able to develop a major software package that is specifically designed for Texas Juvenile Probation programs."

    The JCMS has three benefits. First, now both counties can see database information across jurisdictions - allowing juvenile justice officials of one county the ability to determine if an individual has records in the other county. Second, it streamlines the operations of juvenile probation in both counties - decreasing paperwork and increasing person-to-person contacts. Third, counties have the ability to allow local law enforcement agencies to access the database.

    "We have limited our development costs by partnering with Dallas and Bexar counties, along with the Texas Juvenile Probation Commission," said Maenius.

    "Because we own the software and other Juvenile Probation departments across the State want this software, we will be able to sell it to them. This will result in literally millions of dollars in savings for Tarrant County because we will be sharing the development costs with other participating entities," he said.

    "The JCMS could not have been accomplished without the help of many people," said Maenius. "Randy Turner and the staff at Tarrant County Juvenile Services were great. Information Technology (IT) Director Steve Smith was one of the visionaries who saw that a juvenile justice system could be developed. IT Project Manger Kurt Buchert and his staff were great. Finally, the Texas Conference of Urban Counties development team was indispensible. This has been a great team and we should all be proud of the work that they did."

    The JCMS is part of the TechShare program, a major effort involving the state's most populous counties to develop a common justice information system that can be used throughout Texas. In 2005, Tarrant County initiated the effort through the Urban Counties, which has been working to develop the standards and build systems that meet the unique needs of Texas counties. Tarrant has maintained a leadership role in the TechShare program, providing much of the technical support in the development of whole new software programs.

    Earlier this month, the TechShare Program received a national Digital Government Achievement Award from the Center for Electronic Government for its intergovernmental cooperation.