The Open Justice Broker Consortium (OJBC) was named a 2013 Best of NIEM winner November 6 by the NIEM Program Management Office (PMO).

The award recognizes NIEM implementation projects that demonstrate how intergovernmental collaboration and innovative technology deliver results that improve mission performance, increase efficiency, and support government transparency.

Kate Silhol, co-chair of the NIEM Business Architecture Committee, presented the award to the OJBC at the NIEM in November meeting in Washington, D.C., held as both a live and virtual event. OJBC was one of five Best of NIEM winners among several dozen nominees.

The OJBC is a membership organization of state, local, and tribal government entities that shares ideas and technologies to support the exchange of critical information within the justice and public safety community. Its members—currently the States of Hawaii, Maine, and Vermont—develop information sharing capabilities collaboratively and collectively, then share and reuse them through the OJB technology platform.

SEARCH helped the member states form the OJBC and continues to support the consortium’s efforts with a staff of technologists, developers, and data architects with deep expertise in both justice information sharing and the open source tools used in their implementations.

Standards-based Information Exchange

The OJBC’s information sharing exchanges are implemented in conformance with national and industry standards, Including the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM).

NIEM is a community-driven, government-wide, standards-based approach to exchanging information. This approach, used in all 50 states and internationally, leverages NIEM tools, processes, and technologies to help implement justice and public safety initiatives. NIEM facilitates interoperability and provides quick access to accurate, complete, and actionable data—such as solutions to protect citizens, respond to disasters, or monitor prescription drug abuse.

SEARCH has been involved with NIEM (and its predecessor, the Global Justice XML Data Model [GJXDM]) since its inception. SEARCH staff actively participate in the NIEM Program and helped develop the NIEM Naming and Design Rules and Model Package Description specification.

“The core of the OJBC effort is that it represents a new information sharing model—a new and better way to build and deploy public-funded technology. This is a venture in making government work better and more cost-effectively for citizens and the practitioners we serve.”
— SEARCH Executive Director Scott Came

OJBC Efforts Lauded

In selecting the OJBC for the 2013 Best of NIEM Award, the NIEM PMO cited an OJBC effort to share law enforcement booking data with probationer and parolee data. The subscription-notification project was spearheaded by the Hawaii Integrated Justice Information Sharing (HIJIS) program; it was then reused by the State of Vermont.

Hawaii’s challenge was that while probationers and parolees may have contact with law enforcement (such as an arrest), their probation or parole officers might not learn about this contact until days or even weeks later. Through an automated information exchange between the state’s booking system and probation and parole case management systems, the HIJIS program enabled near real-time notification to probation and parole officers when one of their supervisees is arrested anywhere in the state—critical for effective offender management.

The State of Vermont then leveraged the 6-month development effort of Hawaii and was able to extend the capability to meet its requirements in less than a month. By the end of 2013, Vermont will deploy this capability to notify probation officers based on law enforcement contact (not just arrest), and is leveraging existing NIEM-conformant incident reporting exchanges to drive notifications.

OJBC Vice Chair Clay Sato nominated the consortium for this award. Mr. Sato is Data Processing Systems Manager for the Hawaii Criminal Justice Data Center (HCJDC).

OJBC members who spearhead their states’ efforts are also the governor-appointed representatives of their states on the SEARCH Membership Group. They are Ms. Liane Moriyama, Administrator, HCJDC; Mr. Matthew Ruel, Director, State Bureau of Identification, Maine State Police; and Mr. Francis X. Aumand III, Director, Criminal Justice Services, Vermont Department of Public Safety.

About OJBC

OJBC’s central objective is better information sharing among justice agencies and greater government accountability through cross-jurisdiction reuse and deployment of low-cost, open source technology.

OJBC members have access to software and staff expertise that enables them to cooperatively design and develop information sharing capabilities.

They implement these exchanges on an open source platform, and then make the implementations and technologies available to one another for reuse.

This collaborative approach to information sharing is what makes the OJBC unique. Also, building upon open source software (available to government agencies at no initial licensing cost) allows jurisdictions to realize great benefit at minimal cost.

The OJB platform currently supports 27 individual information exchange services, each of which is defined by a specification that conforms to Global Reference Architecture (GRA) guidance, and includes a NIEM-conformant IEPD.

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