Middlesex County law enforcement agencies now have an additional tool to fight crime—more and easier access to information about prison inmates.
The Middlesex County Sheriff's office recently unveiled MIDNet, the Massachusetts Inmate Data Network, which allows police officers to access information on inmates in hopes of bolstering public safety, according to the Sheriff's office.
"Our detectives are already using it. It's set up and we've gotten the training to be able to navigate it," said Tewksbury Police Chief Timothy Sheehan. "It's something our detectives used, along with CopLink, with that kidnapping (at Motel 6) a couple of weeks ago."
MIDNet allows officers to find information on an inmate's status, charges, identifying marks, aliases and other information from other correctional facilities, including state Department of Correction facilities. As of Dec. 19, 39 out of 54 Middlesex County communities had enrolled in the program.
Sheehan said MIDNet works extremely well as a collaborative tool with CopLink, which allows detectives to access the same type of information from other law enforcement agencies. According to Sheehan, these systems allow detectives investigating a crime to access information almost instantly, rather than having to request the information.
"The best thing we have going for us is if we can jump on something as soon as it happens," said Sheehan. "It's the coming of age of crime solving."
Tewksbury detectives were able to use the new technologies to identify Jeffrey Venter of Boston as a suspect because the victim was able to describe a distinctive Chicago Blackhawks tattoo on his attacker's face.
"We're very grateful to the sheriff for implementing this system," said Sheehan. "Otherwise a lot of crimes would go unsolved."