The Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services (OCJS) has been working for years with Ohio law enforcement to implement a new incident based crime reporting system that significantly upgrades the Uniform Crime Report issued by the FBI. The Ohio Incident Based Reporting System (OIBRS) offers invaluable information and insight into the nature of crime, victims and offenders, to provide law enforcement with the data they need to plan for enforcement, intervention and prevention efforts in their communities.
These IBR Certification procedures are to be followed for any software vendor, law enforcement agency, or any other person or agency creating their own IBR (Incident-Based Reporting) software and would like to become officially IBR certified in Ohio. Official certification in Ohio allows law enforcement agencies to electronically submit OIBRS data to the State. The State can then forward the law enforcement agency’s data to the FBI in the NIBRS format. These procedures are used to certify the quality of data submitted to the State IBR Program. Once official certification is reached, the software must maintain its high level of data quality or decertification may follow.
The official certification and decertification procedures are outlined below and based off of the Ohio Data Collection and Submission Specifications Manual.
Official Certification Process
It is suggested that the vendor seeking official certification select as a test site a law enforcement agency that produces a high number of records each month for submission testing purposes. The higher the number of records an agency has, the better chance errors that may need to be fixed would occur. Using an agency that submits only a few records per month as a test site may increase the chances of becoming decertified in the future because you may not see the common errors during testing. It is recommended that the testing agency produce at least 30 records per month.
The vendor will complete and submit to OCJS a written request to test for official certification after reading, understanding, and signing this document. Once the request is received, OCJS will contact the vendor to inform them that they may begin sending the live test data. This data must come from actual incidents reported by the law enforcement agency using the vendor’s software on a daily basis.
The testing vendor will begin submitting real data obtained from the pilot law enforcement agency in Ohio that they have chosen. The data submitted will be in monthly intervals. There must be three consecutive monthly submissions of data that meet a 4% error rate or less for the testing vendor to be considered for official certification in Ohio for IBR reporting.
If, for example, a testing vendor sends two consecutive months of data at 4% or less and the third month is higher than 4%, then that testing vendor must submit three more consecutive months at a 4% or less error rate. The testing vendor can fix any errors in the already submitted months’ data and resubmit them. When the third consecutive submission of data is at a 4% or less error rate, the testing vendor moves to Step 3.
After three consecutive submissions of a 4% or less error rate, the Director of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services will receive the Official Certification certificate to sign. Once signed by the Director, the vendor will be considered Officially Ohio IBR Certified and will be given the certificate. Vendors must also at this time submit a list of all of their software users in Ohio.
Once officially certified, any Ohio law enforcement agency using the vendor’s Official Ohio IBR Certified software is automatically OIBRS certified and can begin sending data to OCJS. Official Certification is contingent on the vendor maintaining the 4% or less error rate.
Below describes the process by which an Officially Certified vendor can be IBR Decertified in Ohio.
The law enforcement agency using a certified vendor submits data for a month that has an error rate higher than 4%. The vendor will receive a letter (mail or e-mail) informing them of the error(s) and advising them they can receive technical support from OCJS. At this point the 12 month time period has begun and two more months of a higher than 4% error rate from this date will cause the vendor to be decertified.
The certified vendor must correct the errors in their program in order to maintain the 4% or less error rate. Those corrections must be made before the next monthly submission from the law enforcement agency.
If the same law enforcement agency sends a second monthly submission of data that has an error rate higher than 4%, the vendor will again be notified of the error(s) and must correct them before the next monthly submission from the law enforcement agency.
Once the same law enforcement agency has three monthly submissions of data that have an error rate higher than 4% within a 12 month time period, the Director of the Ohio Office of Criminal Justice Services will be notified and a recommendation made for decertification of that vendor. Once the Director signs the decertification certificate, that vendor will be decertified in Ohio for IBR reporting. A copy of the decertification certificate will be sent to the vendor, and all of the vendor’s submitting law enforcement agencies will be notified of the decertification. Those law enforcement agencies will not be able to submit data to OCJS until the vendor is recertified. The vendor must go through the certification process again to be recertified.
Changes to the Ohio Data Collection and Submission Specifications Manual
It is recognized that over time, changes may occur to the Ohio Data Collection and Submission Specifications Manual as updates are necessary due to changes/additions from the FBI, or from Ohio’s codes/guidelines, along with any errors that may be present in the manual itself. It is understood that the official certified vendors must have time to make the necessary changes in their program to satisfy the changes in the Ohio Data Collection and Submission Specifications Manual. Once any changes are identified in the manual, the Office of Criminal Justice Services will allow time for the certified vendors to make the changes in their program accordingly. The time given will be based on the extent of the changes required. Once that time has expired, the decertification process will apply. OCJS will look at each potential decertification on a case-by-case basis when determining a final decision.