ALERT (Automated Law Enforcement Response Team) was established in 1968 to serve as a computerized informational tool for area Law Enforcement Agencies in the performance of their duties. The original mission statement gave ALERT two basic missions: 1) primary – to provide information to assist the police officer in the performance of law enforcement duties, and 2) secondary – to provide information that assists the police staff in managing the total resources of the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department. Initially, it only contained wants/warrants and stolen autos. As interest in the system grew, it expanded to include informational and statistical data on accidents, arrests, offenses, probation, and other information related to criminal justice and the administration of this department and others in the metropolitan area.
The system now includes over 120 criminal justice agencies from municipal, county, state, and federal jurisdictions throughout the metropolitan area. These include police and sheriff departments, city, state and federal court systems and prosecutors’ offices, highway patrols, and other federal and state criminal justice agencies on both sides of the state line. The ALERT system is mostly supported by user fees collected from these agencies.
The value of the information contained in ALERT is dependent on contribution of data by our users. Entry of information into the system is voluntary. Not all agencies using the system enter data into ALERT, however, they are allowed to view the information the system contains. Obviously, if more agencies contribute data to ALERT, the subsequent pool of information then becomes a better resource for criminal justice purposes. For example, our police department or the municipal court enters all arrests, traffic or other that occur in Kansas City, Missouri, into the ALERT system. Court dates, warrants, and final dispositions are noted. Additionally, the municipal court enters conditions of probation. This information is then available for any user to view. Several other police departments and courts also enter this same type of information into ALERT, and it also is available for all others to see. On the other hand, some agencies keep arrest, warrant and probation information in their own database system and/or may only supply warrant information to the state and federal systems.