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Better Data is Making The Streets Safer in Washington State

State Patrol -- the clearinghouse for the state's criminal records -- has sped up the information process and access to it.

By Michael Ko, The Seattle Times

Two years ago the Washington State Patrol took an average of 13 months to enter information about felony convictions into the state's master criminal-history database.

That meant a potential employer, a law-enforcement agency, a volunteer organization - anyone who needed to run background checks on people - wouldn't have access to the records that might reveal serious crimes. And some police detectives might wait months for fingerprint comparisons.

But starting this month, the turnaround time will be reduced to 30 days.

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