History of APSIN

APSIN (Alaska Public Safety Information Network) came into existence in 1984. Before APSIN, Alaska's criminal justice information system was called AJIS (Alaska Justice Information System).

AJIS was the original computerized criminal justice information for Alaska and served that purpose surprisingly well considering the state of computer and telecommunications technology at the time.

Alaska is by far the largest state in the U.S. With over 586,400 square miles, is an immense territory. Considering its size and the sparseness of its very small population, successfully delivering an electronic criminal justice information system to most of the state was no simple feat.

Even considering all of the limitations that faced AJIS, the system was able to provide a solid service to most of the law enforcement and other criminal justice agencies in the state. AJIS was able to reach places like Barrow, Kodiak, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Nome as well as serving the larger population centers such as Fairbanks and Anchorage.

Late in the 1970's as the TransAlaska Pipeline and North Slope oil fields were in full swing and having a major impact on the entire criminal justice system in Alaska, it was clear that AJIS would need to be replaced.

Planning for the new system began followed by design and construction. The new system was brought online during the middle of 1984 and was dubbed the Alaska Public Safety Information Network or "APSIN".

APSIN was originally designed in modules with the core law enforcement modules being designed and built first and subsequent modules built around the core modules. The end result was a centralized system that was person-centric with the various other related pieces of information indexed to the person file.

This design approach turned out to be somewhat ahead of its time and has since been adopted by other jurisdictions as they attempt to improve their previously disjoint data bases.

The APSIN design allowed for a "one-stop-shop" where an operator could derive a person's physical description, addresses, driver history, criminal history, vehicle information, wants and warrants, case involvement, and other similar information all from one system and all based on an individual's unique identity.

The APSIN system is mainframe based, using a Software AG data base product called ADABAS. Communication was originally accomplished over a closed System Network Architecture (SNA) network with a requirement for a hardwired, dedicated line to any location where APSIN was to reach. In later years functionality has been added to allow APSIN sessions to be delivered over TCP/IP networks.

As APSIN has evolved over the years many additional functions have either been added directly to the core system itself or they have been "hung" off APSIN in such a manner as to utilize more modern or flexible technologies to leverage the data that resides in APSIN.

APSIN has done an exceptional job of keeping up with changing business needs and with new state and federal mandates concerning the types and methods of information that must be delivered. Much of the ability of APSIN to keep up is due largely to the excellent original design concepts and to a relatively stable group of very experienced programmers over the years.

Unfortunately, we once again find ourselves at a point where the demands of the criminal justice system as well as ever-increasing state and federal requirements make it necessary to design and build an entirely new system.

The APSIN Redesign Project was launched during the early part of 1999 with MTG Consulting producing a Legislative Analysis document. This document would be the first of 5 documents that would end up forming the basis of a redesign plan.

The redesign project itself was launched in early 2001 and is expected to take approximately 5 years to complete.

  • 2005 - New DPS DP Manager - contract modification (May)
  • 2005 - Technical Design essentially complete (June)
  • 2005 - Functional Prototype delivered (August)
    First product with expected look and feel