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Program to help public, state keep tabs on crime

FRANKFORT — Crime victims will get more information about their offenders, the public can use an enhanced Web site to track sex offenders, and pharmacies can crack down on those seeking ingredients for methamphetamine, under a new state technology program.

Gov. Steve Beshear and Justice Cabinet Secretary J. Michael Brown announced details of the program, "Public Safety First," Tuesday at a Capitol news conference.

The state has a contract with Louisville-based Appriss Inc. to implement the program, which will cost $400,000 to $500,000 on top of existing contracts worth about $1 million the state has with the business.

Savings through other initiatives in his cabinet will pay for the enhanced protective services, Brown said.

Main components of the new program, Beshear said, include:

■ Expanding the 14-year-old statewide victim-notification program known as VINE to include protective order and court hearing notifications. Victims will have access to the new services through a single number and Web site.

■ Providing an enhanced Web site to display locations of sex offenders on a map, and e-mail alerts on public notification of the whereabouts of sex offenders.

■ Expanding statewide MethCheck, a program that electronically alerts pharmacies when people try to violate state and federal laws concerning the sale of psuedoephedrine, which can be used to make methamphetamine.

The program started June 1. In its first 90 days, MethCheck recorded 261,251 transactions. Of those, 4,412 were blocked, Brown said.

Most of those blocks, Brown said, were of people trying to make multiple purchases in the same day.

In its first four months, police responses to meth labs have decreased 30 percent over the same period last year, the secretary added.