Governor Cuomo today announced a new data sharing initiative, supported by Joe Robach of the NYS Senate, that will give law enforcement agencies greater and instantaneous access to information housed by the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) through a secure internet portal. This information includes photos of all New York State drivers and non-drivers, vehicle registrations, drivers’ lifetime driving histories, as well as real-time notifications of traffic violations and other changes to a driver’s record.
Joe Robach and the Senate believe that this initiative will add another tool for law enforcement, making it easier for them to identify, find and arrest suspects.
The initiative will provide law enforcement with expanded and faster access to: •LAWMAN – A searchable database of all New York State vehicle registration information •DMV Photo – License and ID photos of all New York State drivers and non-drivers •Driver’s Abstracts – Full history of each New York State driver, including all driving related violations and criminal convictions •License Event Notification System (LENS) – A real-time traffic ticket and other violation notification system
The specific features of the initiative are below:
Direct Access to LAWMAN Database
The LAWMAN database includes approximately 15.6 million registration files which is every vehicle registered in New York State. These files are critical in helping law enforcement identify and arrest suspects based on available information about vehicles such as partial license plate numbers.
Currently, the New York State Police must perform all LAWMAN searches for vehicle registration information on behalf of law enforcement agencies around the state. This initiative allows all law enforcement agencies to have direct access to the LAWMAN database over a secure internet site, even when they are in their patrol cars as long as the car has internet access. By streamlining this process, law enforcement can save staff time and produce greater efficiency for taxpayers. Usage will be audited by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) on an ongoing basis to ensure appropriate usage to maintain the protection of privacy.
Expanded Access to NYS Driver License and Non-Driver ID Photos
DMV Photo is a database of approximately 16 million photo images of New York State drivers and non-drivers. DMV Photo allows officers to compare a driver’s license photo against a person’s appearance.
Currently, to obtain a driver license or non-driver ID photo, a law enforcement agency has to be authorized based on a set of complex criteria. This new initiative opens the process, allowing each law enforcement agency the opportunity to set up a protocol to request photos. Once a police department sets up its specific protocol, its officers will be able to access the photos in any internet-enabled patrol car. Usage of DMV Photo will also be continually audited by DCJS to ensure appropriate usage.
Complete Driving Histories Made Available to Prosecutors
The new initiative will provide prosecutors with the entire driving history of a driver. Currently, only the last four years of a person’s driving record is available to prosecutors or, in the case of a DWI conviction, the previous 10 years. A full driving history will help prosecutors make appropriate charging and sentencing recommendations.
Access to LENS System
Currently, over 30,000 individuals in New York State are on parole or probation for driving-related crimes whose driving privileges have been suspended or restricted. The DMV-maintained “LENS” system is being modified to enable law enforcement to receive real-time notifications of tickets issued to drivers under such supervision. Parole and probation officers can enroll in this service and will be notified automatically if an individual under their supervision receives a traffic ticket, indicating that he or she has violated the terms and conditions of his or her parole or probation by driving. This improved access will be limited to law enforcement only and will allow for better monitoring of problem drivers to protect public safety.
For more information on this Senate initiative, contact Joe Robach or his office.