Texas Department of Public Safety

Texas CISV

 

The Texas Law Enforcement Telecommunications System (TLETS) is a statewide, private telecommunications system composed of both satellite and landline dedicated circuits between the TxDPS hub and remote sites. The former TLETS system was comprised of multiple CICS regions running under the IBM OS/390 Operating System. The primary protocol for the legacy system was SNA, which supported approximately 8,200 terminals and 5,100 printers. Additionally, there are about 540 computer-to-computer interfaces behind which are an estimated 30,000 devices. The TLETS system was a home grown solution that was implemented on IBM mainframes. The system was written in assembler language and was becoming more difficult to maintain and to enhance. The system processed approximately 3,000,000 message transactions per day with a peak processing load of 50 messages per second.

System Description

The goals of the new system were to abandon the use of legacy technologies, support the latest NCIC 2000 formats, improve security and meet the NCIC CJIS Security Policy, improve maintainability, reduce manual processes for system configurations, satisfy the needs of a diverse customer set and minimize the impact to customers. The proposed system was sized to provide processing of 6,000,000 messages per day. The OpenFox® system went into production on April 2, 2006 meeting these goals. There are in excess of 90,000 individual users of the TLETS network. The major interfaces include:

  • Texas Crime Information Center (TCIC);
  • National Crime Information Center (NCIC);
  • Texas Driver’s License (DLD);
  • Texas Vehicle Title and Registration (MVD);
  • Interstate Identification Index (III);
  • Texas Computerized Criminal History (CCH);
  • Texas Department of Criminal Justice (DCJ);
  • The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) via NLETS; and
  • Various Regional Databases

The new TLETS system, under OpenFox®, incorporates TCP/IP as the primary protocol to all devices and computer interfaces and executes on a pair of redundant IBM p550 servers operating under AIX, with one system acting as a standby in case of fail over. The new system also provides for a separate test system and a separate Archive & Retrieval system. The system consistently processes well over three million transactions per day and was configured to handle 6 million per day. The system has already experienced a sustained rate of six million transactions in a single day without encountering any load problems.

When the new system was brought into production, the legacy mainframe system assumed the role of “large terminal server” for legacy devices pending their migration to the new workstation. In order to accomplish this, a “bridge” interface was implemented using the NLETS TCP/IP socket protocol. Each interface connected to an active CICS region and legacy devices were defined to these across two connections. A new workstation solution was also implemented to replace the 3270 workstations, which also communicates to OpenFox® using an encrypted TCP/IP communications and XML data structures. The new workstations employ and support all NCIC 2000 formats as well as the sending and receiving of image data (binary files).

Some of the unique features of TLETS include “radius” broadcasts, persistent and non-persistent messages, response time monitoring and reporting, as well as automatic monitoring and purging of non-persistent messages. The radius broadcasts involve the assignment of latitude and longitude measurements to defined stations and using those geographic points to determine the distance (“radius”) in miles from the originator of the broadcast. This allows the originator to specify a distance representing the radius of a circle with the center being the originator’s location and to send the message to all appropriate stations that fall within that radius. Response time monitoring was also added to the system to monitor and report when “responses” were not received within a stipulated time period. This allows TLETS to be aware of response time problems and potential network issues almost immediately. This is important for a system of this size and volume of transactions.

TLETS also licensed the OpenFox® Archive and Retrieval, the OpenFox® High Availability system and the OpenFox® Interceptor. The system has been in production since April 2, 2006.