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A BRIEF GUIDE TO THE TEXAS COMPUTERIZED

CRIMINAL HISTORY SYSTEM (CCH)

AUGUST 2003

WHAT IS CCH? requires each reporting entity to be


extremely careful in its management of
Chapter 60, Code of Criminal Procedure cases to include and pass along the TRN
(CCP) defines the Computerized and TRS.
Criminal History System (CCH) as the
statewide repository of criminal history
data reported to DPS by local criminal WHO MUST REPORT DATA
justice agencies in Texas. CCH is one TO CCH
component of the Texas Criminal Justice
Information System (CJIS). The other Chapter 60, CCP establishes a flow of
component of CJIS is the Corrections information at the local level that is
Tracking System (CTS) managed by the required for successful CCH reporting
Department of Criminal Justice (DCJ). from each county. The statute places
responsibility for reporting to CCH on
specific local criminal justice agencies,
WHAT DATA IS INCLUDED as follows:
IN CCH?
Arresting Agencies:
Chapter 60, CCP requires that
information on arrests, prosecutions and Police Departments, Sheriff’s Offices
the disposition of the case for persons or any other criminal justice agency
arrested for Class B misdemeanor or in Texas that arrests a person for a
greater violation of Texas criminal Class B misdemeanor or higher
statutes be included in CCH. The statute violation of a Texas statute is
identifies many of the actual data required by Ch. 60, CCP to report
elements. In addition, although not that event to DPS within seven days.
required by statute, CCH has The report, if on paper, must be on
traditionally included limited the Criminal History Reporting form
supervision data reported to DPS by (CR-43) created by DPS. A form
DCJ. created by a local booking system
also may be used, if approved by
Of special note is that Chapter 60, CCP DPS. The report must include the
creates an Incident Tracking Number arrested person’s fingerprints, the
(TRN) and Incident Tracking Number Incident Tracking Number and other
Suffix (TRS) as the keys for linking data required by statute.
charges from arrest through
adjudication. Use of the TRN and TRS The preferred method of reporting
ensures that the outcome of each arrest arrests captures the person’s
charge can be tracked through the fingerprints via “live scan”
system, but establishing this capability fingerprinting devices, captures the

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demographic and arrest data from the of Texas statutes must report the
booking agency’s own automated disposition of the case to DPS. As
booking system, and sends all the with prosecutors, the clerks are
data in an electronic message to DPS dependent upon receiving the TRN
for immediate processing. The same and TRS from the prior reporting
data must be included in the agency. Depending upon the level of
electronic transaction as when automation within the county, court
reported on paper. The electronic clerks also may report the required
submission provides a near-real-time data electronically to DPS.
response to the arresting agency and
causes the CCH to be updated much
more quickly than paper reporting. HOW SUCCESSFUL IS CCH
REPORTING AT PRESENT?
A critical component of successful
reporting is cooperation within the An analysis by the Criminal Justice
county. A large part of that Policy Council in May, 2002 estimated
cooperation is each reporting agency that only about 60% of the dispositions
passing the TRN and TRS to the next in local courts are present in CCH. The
level. The arresting agency needs to two primary reasons for dispositions
send the TRN and TRS to the being absent from CCH are:
prosecuting agency, as indicated
below. (1) The corresponding arrest was not
reported. When the disposition is
reported, it cannot be matched (via
Prosecuting Agencies: TRN and TRS) to an arrest and must
be placed in the DPS “suspense” file
Chapter 60, CCP requires that any to await the receipt of the arrest
County Attorney, District Attorney or report. If the arrest is never reported,
other prosecutor receiving a class B the dispositions will never be entered
misdemeanor or greater offense must into CCH.
report to DPS the decision to accept,
reject, change, or add to the charge (2) The court has not reported it.
for trial. As with the arresting
agencies, prosecutors may report on
paper or electronically. The
HOW CAN CCH REPORTING
prosecutor must also include the
incident tracking number, as received BE IMPROVED?
from the arresting agency.
As suggested above, the most important
factors contributing to successful CCH
Court Clerks reporting are local communication and
coordination. The arresting agency must
Chapter 60, CCP requires that begin the process with the fingerprint
County Clerks, District Clerks, or submission. That event must be reported
others clerks whose courts try Class to DPS and to the prosecutor. The DPS
B misdemeanor or greater violations Criminal History Reporting Form (CR-
43) contains all the required information,

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except the State Identification Number, (2) To entities identified in the
which must be received back by the Government Code (and a few other
arresting agency from DPS after the statutes) for background searches for
arrest is reported. The arresting agency specific non-criminal justice
and prosecutor must agree on a process purposes, such as:
for the efficient flow of information via a. Certain governmental licenses
the CR-43 or other appropriate method. (medical, law, educator, etc.)
b. Certain jobs serving vulnerable
Likewise, the prosecutor must report populations, especially children,
his/her action to DPS and to the court. the elderly and the disabled (day
As with the arrest information, it may be care centers, nursing homes,
passed via the CR-43, but with the hospitals, mental health workers,
proliferation of automated systems, it is etc.)
often passed via an intra-county system. c. Certain security sensitive jobs,
Internal cooperation and communication such as nuclear power plants,
is critical to successful CCH reporting at financial institutions, etc.
the local level.Each agency must fulfill d. Brady firearm sales
its responsibility or the succeeding (3) To the person himself or herself
agency may not be able to accurately (4) For certain research purposes
report the next step in the process. CCH
reporting is not the responsibility of a Each session, the Texas legislature
single agency, it is a county-wide increases the uses of CCH for non-
responsibility, and the best solutions are criminal justice purposes. In 2003, for
developed in counties that have example, the legislature granted access
established plans for county-wide for criminal history searches on to the
communication, coordination and many companies that provide in-home
implementation. services, such as plumbing or electrical
repair. Keeping the file accurate and up-
HOW IS THE INFORMATION to-date is a true public safety
IN CCH USED responsibility for both criminal and non-
criminal justice purposes.
Chapter 411, Subchapter F, Texas WHERE IS MORE
Government Code controls the use of INFORMATION AVAILABLE?
CCH by DPS. That statute follows the
national model established in federal Texas Department of Public Safety
regulations for the nationwide criminal Crime Records Service
history file managed by the FBI. In CJIS Field Representatives
addition, certain federal statutes affect P.O. Box 4143
the use of Texas CCH. The CCH data in Austin, Texas 78765
the Texas state repository at DPS may Phone: (512) 424-2478
only be disseminated from DPS: Email: afis_cjis@txdps.state.tx.us

(1) To criminal justice agencies for


criminal justice purposes, including
law enforcement agencies during
investigations,

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