Created in 1973, the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigation is a part of the Attorney general’s Office of the State. Launched in accordance with Wyoming statute, 9-1-66, the DCI hosts several subdivisions including the State Crime Laboratory, Operations and Criminal Justice information Services (CJIS). The latter is divided into multiple units, each with a designated responsibility towards a specific crime related function.
The Criminal Records Unit of the CJIS comprises of several sections of which the one that is important to anybody who is interested in a warrant search is the Criminal Records Unit. This branch of the CJIS is responsible for managing the computerized crime history network (CCH), a database of arrest records collected from all over the state.
Apart from this, the Criminal Justice Information Services Section also hosts the Concealed Firearm Permit Unit which controls the sanctioning of licenses for keeping concealed ammunition in Wyoming. The Uniform Crime Reporting Unit of the CJIS collects criminal incident figures from all the law enforcement agencies in the state; forwards these to the FBI and uses the data to calculate crime trends.
The CJIS also maintains the Automated Fingerprint Identification System that is used for the assimilation and processing of fingerprint data collected at the time of arrests. The Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that handles criminal history inquiries from applicants and the Control Terminal (CT) which renders operation support to the Wyoming Criminal Justice information Network (WYCJIN) and the National Crime Information Center of WY (NCIC) are also sections of the CJIS. Finally, the sex offender registry for the state of Wyoming is maintained by the Sex Offender Registration Unit (SOR) which is a part of the CJIS.
The Criminal Records Unit of the CJIS
Accurate, timely and complete arrests records are not just crucial for criminal justice agencies but are increasingly becoming important for the civilians factions and organizations in society. From commercial employers to school districts and from volunteer programs to licensing services all rely on crime history data. Hence, it is the primary responsibility of the CRU to ensure that the correct information is collected from the right sources, at the appropriate time and this is disclosed to the applicants while keeping the Privacy Laws of the state in mind.
Arrest records for Wyoming which include details on outstanding warrants, court disposition and correctional data are maintained forever. Even if the charges against an alleged offender were dismissed, information on the legal actions taken against him, including arrests, will always be held in the CCH. It is possible for a person to seek the expungement of this data through a court order. However, even if this is granted, the arrest records will still be available to criminal justice agencies.
The collection of crime history data and its dissemination
To ensure that the data kept by them is complete and accurate, information on all felonies, serious misdemeanors and other misdemeanors are collected pursuant to WS 7-19-107. In accordance with this statute, all county, city and municipal judicial agencies, including offices of county clerks, district courts, law enforcement agencies, Department of Corrections, tribunals with limited jurisdiction, district attorneys, parole and probation authorities and correctional centers are to submit crime history records to the DCI at the earliest possible opportunity after the reportable incidents has occurred. In this case, earliest time refers to a margin of 72 hours.
Moreover, the Wyoming Statutes have also put the DCI in charge of formulating rules for the dissemination of crime history data in the state. As such, the agency decides what type and extent of information will be offered to various applicants, the requirements for initiating the warrant search and the fees for such services. It should clearly be understood that the crime related information collected by the DCI is based on fingerprint cards data (FPC). So, the DCI will not create a crime records entry unless the FPC is received. If fingerprints have not been taken in a particular case, the DCI will not have information on the matter.