cjis: POR

 
Protection Order Registry (POR)
{Judicial Branch}

Program Description

The Judicial Branch's Protection Order Registry (POR) is an integrated database and notification system for orders of individual protection issued or registered with state authorities. 

The Order Registry project began with an initial study and proposal development under the NCHIP-ASAP program.  The start up funds were combined with NCHIP and Byrne 5% Set Aside program funding to construct a computer system that makes information from orders of individual protection available to criminal justice agencies and related service providers within the state and throughout the country.   The project was coordinated through a multi-agency steering committee under the general oversight of the Connecticut Criminal Justice Information System Governing Board.  Additional state and federal resources are now being utilized to maintain and enhance the system.    

One significant achievement was the implementation of a new computer system and procedures for the most common types of orders: civil restraining orders and criminal protective orders issued in family violence cases.    In 2002, the Protection Order Registry (POR) and supporting procedures were implemented in all of the state’s criminal and civil courts.  Under these procedures, the local court clerks enter all family violence orders in the POR before the close of business on the day that an order is issued, and the information from the order is automatically available to criminal justice agencies across the country through the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) approximately 10 minutes after the POR entry.

The POR is now maintained in accordance with state law by the Judicial Branch’s Office of the Chief Court Administrator.   Direct access to POR is available in a secure intranet application for authorized criminal justice agencies.  However, most law enforcement agencies in the state rely on two other sources for POR information:  the Department of Public Safety’s Connecticut On-Line Law Enforcement Communications Teleprocessing System (COLLECT), supplemented by direct POR notifications to specific agencies where applicable.   The POR is programmed to automatically enter protection order records in COLLECT’s Protection Order File (File 20).  The File 20 records are available around the clock for enforcement purposes through standard person (FLQW) and motor vehicle (FL02) inquiries.  The POR is also programmed to notify specific law enforcement agencies based upon address information for the parties to a protection order.   One notification is sent to the law enforcement agency through COLLECT to a dedicated printer for the agency, and a second notification is sent through a Judicial Branch fax service to a dedicated fax machine for the agency.  

The implementation of these procedures coincided with a dramatic increase in arrests for violating protection orders.  In a six month time period before POR, there were 672 arrests for violating protection orders.  In comparable six month time periods after implementation, there were 1812 arrests in 2003, and 2128 in 2004.  The increase in arrests may be attributed to the fact that law enforcement agencies now have access to more accurate, complete, and timely protection order records through the POR. 

In general, the volume of protection orders in family violence cases is similar from year to year: there are approximately 40,000 orders issued or modified each year, and approximately 15,000 orders that terminate or lapse each year.   On December 31, 2010, there were 25,062 active orders in POR, including more than 21,000 orders issued in criminal proceedings, and more than 1,500 orders issued in civil proceedings.  This is a strong correlation to 25,084 records in File 20, and 24,916 records in the NPOF, on or around the same date. For current POR statistics, visit http://www.jud.ct.gov/statistics/prot_restrain/default.htm

The Judicial Branch has implemented various quality assurance measures to ensure that POR is best source for all orders of protection imposed by the courts.  First, Judicial Branch administrators conduct annual field audits to review the data quality, procedures, and system integrity in each court location.  The administrators also monitor these areas through daily reports and periodic cross-referencing with other computer systems.   To improve the completeness of the POR, the Judicial Branch analyzed any orders of protection that may have been issued before the POR was implemented and still may remain in effect.  Most of the orders were maintained in paper form in the local courts or the central records warehouse.   The records were reviewed for accuracy and validity, then entered in the POR, File 20, and NPOF.  This resulted in the entry of approximately 4,170 criminal protective orders, 470 standing criminal protective orders, and 30 permanent restraining orders in the state and national protection order files.

Other types of protection orders were also analyzed during the project and alternative procedures were implemented when the POR process was not practicable.  For example, File 20 was designed to accommodate manual entries from corrections, parole, and psychiatric security agencies.  Such orders of protection are issued at the discretion of the agencies when releasing persons from custody, so the orders are not available in POR or NCIC.  Similarly, the POR was designed to accommodate orders of protection that are supervised by bail commissioners and probation officers, but the orders are also entered manually in File 20 because the orders are not complete in terms of the NCIC criteria, or the records are not processed in a manner that facilitates timely POR entries. 
     
The POR has been enhanced in a number of areas to improve data quality, the timeliness of entries, and communications with service providers and parties to protection orders.  A few significant enhancements are summarized below.  

  • { } Termination Notifications for Victims.  In 2003, the Judicial Branch’s Office of Victim Services began notifying victims through the mail whenever their orders terminated.  These personally addressed letters contain important outreach information and are generated by the POR whenever protective orders terminate, or in the case of restraining orders, 35 days before the order is scheduled to terminate.  More than 26,000 letters are now mailed each year under this program.
  • { } Police Notification Component.  In 2003, this component officially replaced the various manual notification processes utilized by the courts.  Law enforcement agencies within the state receive computer-generated faxes of the orders whenever an order is issued, modified, or terminated in the POR.  More than 100,000 notifications are now faxed automatically through this component each year based upon address information that is entered for the parties.   The notifications also may be faxed to law enforcement agencies outside the state when applicable. 
  • { } Offender Based Tracking Interface.  In 2004, the POR was programmed to send protection order data to the State of Connecticut’s Offender Based Tracking System whenever a criminal protective order was issued, modified, or terminated in POR.
  • { } Restraining Order Initiation Interface.  In 2005, the civil court computer system was integrated with POR to expedite the POR data entry process for ex parte restraining orders.
  • { } POR Access for Child Welfare Officials.  In 2005, some case workers from the State of Connecticut, Department of Children and Families (DCF) were granted direct, around the clock access to the POR.  The POR was also reprogrammed to fax protection order information to corresponding DCF field offices when applicable. 
  • { } Juvenile Protection Orders.   In 2005, new data entry functions were added to accommodate information about guardians and caseworkers who may be involved in orders of protection issued in juvenile court matters.     
  • { } Service Tracking Component.  In 2006, the POR was reprogrammed to enable state marshals to record the service of process in civil restraining order cases.  This component uses an around-the-clock, toll-free voice recognition system that marshals can access by cell phone, and the POR accordingly updates state and national protection order files, and faxes a notice of service to corresponding police departments, as soon as service information is recorded. 
  • { } Family Services Interface.  In 2007, the POR was integrated with the family services case management system maintained by the Judicial Branch, Court Support Services Division. Through this interface, intake data is imported during the entry of protective orders, the protective orders are then printed, rather than hand written, for the court’s review, and the terms of the protective order are transmitted to the family counselors as soon as the order is activated in the POR. 
  • { } Electronic Archival Function.  In 2008, the POR was reprogrammed to store electronic images of standing criminal protective orders (SCPO).  This enables the SCPO documents to be permanently archived for periodic validations in accordance with federal regulations.  In addition, it enables the SCPO documents to be reproduced immediately for criminal justice agencies, years and decades after the original court documents are warehoused or destroyed.
  • { } Restraining Order Printing Function.  In 2009, the POR was reprogrammed to enable court clerks to prepare restraining order documents for the parties and the court files with data from POR.  This ensured that the source documents were typed, not hand-written, and promoted more accurate data in POR because the restraining order information would be double-checked by court personnel. 
  • { } Project Passport.   In 2010, the POR Fax Notification Module was reprogrammed to utilize the state’s new passport, or standardized court form for all orders of protection.  The passport was developed in support a nationwide initiative to improve the enforcement of protection orders across all jurisdictions through the adoption of a consistent, recognizable paper layout for the orders.  The passport is now faxed to all corresponding law enforcement agencies across the country whenever an order of protection record is activated in the POR.

The POR has served as a significant tool in identifying persons who are disqualified from possessing firearms, both under state and federal law.  The State of Connecticut serves as a point of contact (POC) for background investigations concerning long guns, hand guns, and explosives for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).  To assist with its POC functions, the DPS Special Licensing and Firearms Unit (SLFU) maintains databases for registered firearms and firearms permits.  As soon as a protection order is activated in the POR, the case information is transmitted to the SLFU and automatically cross-referenced against the firearms databases.  Any matches are instantly flagged to initiate revocation proceedings. 

Before this data integration, revocations reportedly took several weeks: from the time the order was issued, the paper document was received by local law enforcement agencies, and then transmitted to the SLFU for investigation.  Now, with protection order information being transmitted to the SLFU on the same day that the order is issued, the revocation can be initiated within a couple hours of the order being issued.  The overall effectiveness of this integration also may be illustrated by statistics in recent years suggesting that around 5% of persons subject to protection orders, or approximately 1,500 persons per year, have firearms or permits registered with the SLFU that need to be surrendered or revoked. 

Many other unlawful firearms transactions outside the state are averted due to the availability of protection order data in the NPOF.  Some recent examples are included below based upon correspondence with federal officials.

  • A person who was subject to an active protection order issued in New London, CT was attempting to purchase a firearm in Westerly, RI.  The purchase was denied and a federal criminal investigation was initiated, because accurate, timely and complete protection order data was available in the NPOF for the firearms background check. 
  • { } A person who was subject to an active protection order issued in New Haven, CT was found to be in possession of a handgun in Junction City, KS.  The handgun was seized, and the person was referred for federal prosecution.  
  • { } A person who was subject to an active protection order issued in Stamford, CT was attempting to purchase a firearm in Anderson, SC.  The purchase was denied and a federal criminal investigation was initiated because accurate, timely and complete protection order data was available in the NPOF for the firearms background check. 

The State of Connecticut is building upon these achievements in several areas.  Some of the current activities are included below.

  • Bail and Probation Automation.   A computer system is being developed to automatically enter orders of protection supervised by bail commissions and probation officers in the state and national files.
  • { } New COLLECT File 20.  The state protection order files are being reprogrammed to provide more information about orders of protection to criminal justice agencies. 
  • { } Victim Notification Enhancements.   A computer system is being developed to notify protected persons by mail when an order is issued, then by telephone and email when an order is modified or terminated.
  • { } Service Tracking Enhancements.   The POR is being reprogrammed to capture additional information about the service of process in civil restraining order cases.
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See  POR Chart or [JPG] POR Chart

For further information, contact the Court Operations Unit at 877-312-7807 (toll-free for 860-263-2708) or justice.support@jud.ct.gov.

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Content Last Modified on 7/19/2011 12:29:57 PM