Highway Patrol sweeps awards in quality and production

The award-winning Missouri Automated Criminal History Site allows the public to request criminal history checks online.
Twenty-two team members from the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Missouri Criminal Justice Modernization Project are selected for the Technology in Government award. MACHS is an automated criminal history site established in February to allow the public to request criminal history checks online. Maneater Courtesy Photo by MODPS

The Missouri State Highway Patrol won two awards in Efficiency/Process Improvement and Technology in Government categories of the 2011 Governor’s Awards for Quality and Production.

Two initiative projects, the Missouri Automated Criminal History Site and the Missouri Criminal Justice Modernization Project, were major advancements that contributed to the success of the highway patrol in the Oct. 19 ceremony for the state government, according to a news release.

MACHS is an automated criminal history site established in February by a group of 19 patrol team members to allow the public to request criminal history checks online in a timely manner rather than through outdated methods, Director of the patrol’s Public Information Division Tim Hull said.

In the past, background checks had to be mailed to the patrol or requested in person in Jefferson City, sometimes taking up to several weeks, he said.

“What MACHS has done is allow more timely response to background checks, reduced postage for sending those back and eased the process for the public and allowed Patrol employees and staff who were previously required to oversee manual background checks to perform other duties,” Hull said.

Hull said in the first three months of implementing MACHS, the highway patrol processed 121,500 criminal checks — 90 percent of which were completed and returned to the requester within seconds. MACHS won the patrol the Efficiency/Process Improvement award.

“Modernizing technology and improving the service to Missourians is something we strive to do every day,” he said. “We try to make the government as accessible and easy to use by the citizens so there’s less frustration and less manpower hours on our end.”

The MCJMP was chosen for the Technology in Government category, a project that reduced the amount of paperwork and data entry for patrollers, according to the news release.

Computer-assisted dispatching and a system for entering data into a computer rather than paperwork are important in allowing patrol officers to devote more time to law-enforcement related activities, Department of Public Safety Communications Director Mike O’Connell said.

“The Department of Public Safety thinks it is very important and wants to continue to use technology so that troopers and other personnel have to spend less time on paper work and clerical type issues and can devote as much time as possible to patrolling the highways, protecting the public and making the state of Missouri safer,” he said.

O’Connell said it is important for the highway patrol to make information as accessible as possible to the public through technology so they can get assistance quickly.

“The Missouri State Highway Patrol is respected as one of the nation’s outstanding law enforcement agencies, and they continue to be because they embrace not only their traditions of excellence but continue to move forward with technology and the latest law enforcement strategies that are going to advance public safety in the state of Missouri,” O’Connell said.

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