Earlier this year, LSG Solutions was contracted by the State of Oklahoma to update the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry web application site. Originally built back in the early 2000’s, the original system was very informative, but had become out of date. While several similarities are in place, we also added several new features for the Oklahoma tax-payer and Oklahoma local law enforcement.
In addition, the specific technologies we used allowed us to hit a very tight federal grant deadline.
The Public Interface
Two of the primary benefits will be strongly appreciated by the Oklahoma citizen. First is the ability to see the location of sex offenders via a Google maps interface. Second is the ability to sign up for notifications when a sex offender moves into your specified area.
While the previous system simply listed out the names and address, the new Google maps interface gives the public the ability to easily visualize the location of a sex offender’s residence. The mapping technology wasn’t there when the system was originally launched in the early 2000’s. Instead, you had to search by zip code and rely on a text-based list of addresses.
The new mapping capabilities bring the system up to date with what people currently expect in web-based location databases. It lets you search by address and specify how many miles around that address you want to search, then shows the results on a Google maps interface.
With the email notifications, you can enter one email address and up to five physical addresses to have monitored. Whenever there is any sex offender movement within your specified radius of each of those addresses, you’ll receive an email notification.
The Oklahoma Law Enforcement Improvements
Regarding other improvements, the old system relied on an older web browser, Internet Explorer 6. Because that web browser was from 2001, most of the law enforcement officers were unable to update the database themselves. All those updates were passed to the Sex Offenders and Violent Offenders Unit, who were frequently backlogged as a result.
Now, with the new system more officers have access to update the data, which means more reliable, up to date information in the system.
Why LSG Solutions Was a Good Fit
In 2006 the Adam Walsh Act, aka SORNA, passed. The Act defined standards across all states. The work LSG Solutions recently completed was Phase One of the project, which brought the Oklahoma Sex Offender Registry into compliance with the Act. As part of those upgrades, it added new features for the public interface and more modern compatibility for Oklahoma Law Enforcement.
The Oklahoma Department of Corrections became aware of a grant that was available if they complied with the Adam Walsh Act before the end of August 2012. The work had to be done under a very specific deadline. The Oklahoma DOC didn’t know if any company would be able to complete the project on time.
Fortunately, LSG was able to recommend and utilize specific rapid software development technologies that allowed for a much quicker turnaround than other companies. Phase one of the project began in May 2012, and ended in August 2012. The new system went live the final weekend in August, and hit the hard deadline required by the granting authority. Citizens are increasingly signing-up for notifications. Their online feedback has been very motivating. Now Law Enforcement can perform their activities while taking back the unusual burden placed on the Sex Offender Administration Unit. Both parties now can appreciate the features Google Maps brings for visual safety monitoring and locating the registered sex offender in the public.