Thursday, June 25, 2009

Interagency frustrations

You know, working for a state law enforcement agency can be extremely frustrating. There are so many other agencies that you have to interact with, and none of you use the same identifiers. We use a State Identification Number for each offender in our agency, SID for short. You'd think that would be universal, at least across the state agencies. You'd be wrong. State Corrections uses a totally different number, and who knows where they got that from. If you look hard enough at the DOC forms, you can find the SID number, usually not as prominent as their own SCID number, but there nonetheless.

Then enter into the Federal system. You'd think, that if someone is actively being supervised by a state officer, if someone else decided to pick them up, say on federal charges, you'd get notified of that. Once again, you'd be wrong. Unless of course, when the feds pick them up, they happen to hold them, however briefly, in the county jail. If that happens, then when one of our admin staff is going through the list of those newly booked into the jail to see if any of them are under supervision, you might get lucky and get a hit on it. Depending of course, on how they book them in.

I'm currently trying to track one through Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Seems he was released directly to them, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Now the Feds, have their own ID number system, but even within that, ICE has it's own special ID number system. Unless you're on very good terms with a local ICE agent, who's good at tracking through their computer system, you can't hardly find out anything about someone they're dealing with, unless you already have that special ICE ID number. Which they can't give you, unless you can identify the subject you're looking for. Which they're going to need that number to identify him. Vicious circle eh?

You occasionally get lucky, and can find that number listed on paperwork from SCDC, if they passed through there with the ICE detainer on them. It's not called the ICE ID number, or anything easy like that, but if you've seen a few of them, you realize that they're all in the same format, and can usually pick it out of the morass of jumbled letters and numbers that adorn their discharge paperwork. If of course, your lucky enough to get a copy of that paperwork. If not, then you have to get on the phone, and cajole someone in state records to sift through the paperwork, looking for a string of characters that begins with a specific letter, and has a certain number of numerals after it. Of course, if you want someone in state records, which is under the DOC to find something, you've got to be able to give them their version of the ID number so they can track it down.

Suffice it to say that I've spent the last few hours chasing down numbers and getting them all organized, just so that I can ask ICE what they've done with my guy. Of course, now that I'm ready, ICE is not. So I'll patiently wait to see if anyone calls me back, or if I have to start the wheedling again tomorrow....


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