The following glossary defines both Spillman and common public safety industry abbreviations, acronyms, and terms. These definitions have been collected from various websites and other publicly available industry and government resources. External links have been provided for your convenience when applicable.


ACA – American Correctional Association. For more than 125 years, the ACA has championed the cause of corrections and correctional effectiveness. Founded in 1870 as the National Prison Association, the ACA is the oldest association developed specifically for practitioners in the correctional profession.

AFIS – Automatic fingerprint identification system. A computer database of fingerprints that gives almost instant results.

AFR – Automated field reporting. A feature that allows field users the ability to automatically complete electronic field reports from their computers.

AJA – American Jail Association. Since 1981, the American Jail Association has been the only national, nonprofit association dedicated exclusively to supporting those who work in and operate our Nation’s 3,200-plus jail facilities by offering high quality training, education, and networking.

ANI/ALI – Automatic number/location Information. Data used in dispatching E-911 calls. ANI/ALI information enables an agency to view real-time locations on a map by receiving latitude and longitude data from both wireless devices and landlines.

ANSI – American National Standards Institute. The primary organization for fostering the development of technology standards in the United States. ANSI works with industry groups and is the U.S. member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Long-established computer standards from ANSI include the American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII) and the Small Computer System Interface (SCSI).

APB – All-Points Bulletin

APCO – Association of Public Safety Communication Officials. A member-driven association of communications professionals that provides leadership; influences public safety communications decisions of government and industry; promotes professional development; and fosters the development and use of technology for the benefit of the public.

API – Application programming interface. An interface that allows requests for services between a computer system, library, or application and other computer programs.

ASCII – American Standard Code for Information Interchange. Developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), ASCII is the most common format for text files in computers and on the Internet. In an ASCII file, each alphabetic, numeric, or special character is represented with a 7-bit binary number (a string of seven 0s or 1s). 128 possible characters are defined.

ATL – Attempt to locate

AVL – Automatic Vehicle Locator

BOLO – Be on the Look-Out

CAD – Computer-aided dispatch. A CAD system automates the process of dispatching calls for law, fire, EMS, and similar agencies. It is here that the initial contact information is entered into the records system and the call is assigned to a unit. In addition, the system displays the status of all open incidents and field personnel on duty, as well as provides a method to log times, addresses, complainants, and other significant call information.

CDMA – Code-Division Multiple Access. Any of several protocols used in so-called second-generation (2G) and third-generation (3G) wireless communications. As the term implies, CDMA is a form of multiplexing, which allows numerous signals to occupy a single transmission channel, optimizing the use of available bandwidth. The technology is used in ultra-high-frequency (UHF) cellular telephone systems in the 800-MHz and 1.9-GHz bands.

CDPD – Cellular digital packet data

CJIS – Criminal Justice Information System. State-of-the-art technologies and statistical services that serve the FBI and the entire criminal justice community. Many states have their own CJIS (e.g., UCJIS).

CLETS – California Law Enforcement Teletype System. A system of sharing information between agencies.

COPS – Office of Community-Oriented Policing. Policing by local, involved community members that helps reduce crime and increase intelligence to the police department.

CSAC – Corrections Sentryx® Administrator Certification. A Spillman certification course that provides a Spillman user with the skills necessary to successfully set up and manage the Sentryx Jail application.

DAC – Dispatch Administration Certification. A Spillman certification course for Spillman administrators and communications supervisors who need to learn about CAD code tables and application parameters that affect the function of the Spillman CAD system.

DBMS – Database management system. A system or software designed to manage a database, which allows numerous users to request and run various data operations.

DHS – Department of Homeland Security

DOJ – Department of Justice

DOT – Department of transportation is the most common name for a government agency in North America devoted to transportation. The largest is the United States Department of Transportation (USDOT), which oversees interstate travel.

DPS – Department of Public Safety. Also called an Office of Public Safety, a DPS is a state or local government umbrella agency in the United States which serves to assist the certain agencies in their services by providing administrative, financial, and technical services and support for core public safety functions.

E911 – Enhanced 911. An emergency calling system that automatically associates a physical address with the calling party’s telephone number.

EMS – Emergency medical services

EOC – Emergency operations center

ESN – Emergency service numbers. Public telephone network numbers that allow callers to contact local emergency services for assistance. It is typically a three-digit number so that it can be easily remembered and dialed quickly. Some areas have a different emergency number for each of the different emergency services, which often differ only by the last digit.

FBI – Federal Bureau of Investigation

GIS – Geographic Information System. Any system that captures, stores, analyzes, manages, and presents data linked to location information. In the simplest terms, GIS is the merging of cartography and database technology.

GJIS Initiative – The Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global) serves as a Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) and advises the U.S. Attorney General on justice information sharing and integration initiatives. Global was created to support the broad scale exchange of pertinent justice and public safety information. It promotes standards-based electronic information exchange to provide the justice community with timely, accurate, complete, and accessible information in a secure and trusted environment.

GJXDM – Global Justice XML Data Model. A data reference model for the exchange of information within the justice and public safety communities. It’s a programming standard that allows interfacing with third-party systems without developing costly interfaces. The Global JXDM is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) Office of Justice Programs (OJP), with development supported by the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative’s (Global) XML Structure Task Force (GXSTF).

GUI – Graphical user interface

IACP – International Association of Chiefs of Police

IAFC – International Association of Fire Chiefs

IBR – Incident-based reporting. A system used by U.S. law enforcement agencies to collect and report crime data.

IJIS Institute – Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute

IPSTSC – IJIS Public Safety Technology Standards Committee. This committee works to broaden industry involvement in the vetting and endorsement of standards for dispatch and records systems. The IPSTSC moves beyond the functional standards to develop the technical standards needed to support information exchanges between dispatch and records systems from different companies and the exchange of information with other justice computer systems in prosecutor and court agencies. The committee also reviews and comments on new and emerging functionality and technology that will improve the capabilities of public safety IT systems and makes recommendations for the practitioner and industry communities.

LEISP – Law Enforcement Information Sharing Program. A U.S. Department of Justice Program.

LEITSC – Law Enforcement Information Technology Standards Council

LEXS – LEISP Exchange Specification. A U.S. Department of Justice specification that defines a common format in which law enforcement data can be shared. The most commonly used elements form the foundation upon which practitioners can build specialized extensions to suit individual communities.

MDC – Mobile data computer. An in-vehicle computer used for public safety.

MDT – Mobile data terminal. Another term for Mobile data computer (MDC).

N-DEx – National Data Exchange

NCIC – National Crime Information Center

NEMSIS – National EMS Information System. A grant-funded project to create a uniform dataset for EMS Data Collection.

NENA – National Emergency Number Association

NFIRS – National Fire Incident Reporting System. The standard national reporting system used by U.S. fire departments to report fires and other incidents to which they respond and to maintain records of these incidents in a uniform manner.

NFPA – National Fire Protection Association. A U.S. organization charged with creating and maintaining minimum standards and requirements for fire prevention and suppression activities, training, and equipment, as well as other life-safety codes and standards.

NG-911 – Next Generation 9-1-1. An initiative aimed at updating the 9-1-1 service infrastructure in the United States and Canada to improve public emergency communications services in a wireless mobile society. In addition to calling 9-1-1 from a phone, it intends to enable the public to transmit text, images, video and data to the 9-1-1 center (referred to as a Public Safety Answering Point, or PSAP).

NIBRS – National Incident-Based Reporting System. An incident-based reporting system for crimes known to the police. For each crime incident coming to the attention of law enforcement, a variety of data are collected about the incident. These data include the nature and types of specific offenses in the incident, characteristics of the victim(s) and offender(s), types and value of property stolen and recovered, and characteristics of persons arrested in connection with a crime incident.

NIEM – National Information Exchange Model. NIEM is a partnership of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. It is designed to develop, disseminate, and support enterprise-wide information exchange standards and processes that can enable jurisdictions to effectively share critical information in emergency situations, as well as support the day-to-day operations of agencies throughout the nation.

NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology

NLETS – National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System

NSA – National Sheriffs’ Association

OCA – Originating case agency. A term used in Computer-aided dispatching (CAD) that refers to the agency that initially created a case record.

ODBC – Open database connectivity

OJP – Office of Justice Programs

ORI – Originating agency identifier. A nine-character unique combination that identifies a particular agency.

PSAP – Public safety answering point. A call center responsible for answering calls to an emergency telephone number for police, firefighting, and ambulance services. Trained telephone operators are also usually responsible for dispatching these emergency services.

RFI – Request for information. A standard business process of collecting written information about the capabilities of various suppliers. Normally it follows a format that can be used for comparative purposes.

RFP – Request for proposal. An invitation for suppliers, often through a bidding process, to submit a proposal on a specific commodity or service. The RFP process brings structure to the procurement decision and allows the risks and benefits to be clearly identified upfront.

RMS – Records management system. A traditional records management system is a comprehensive software application designed to capture, track, and store statistical crime data and enable public safety agencies to manage and analyze criminal and non-criminal events. The system automates the processes of entering, storing, retrieving, viewing, and sharing records and files related to persons, vehicles, property, wanted persons, and other records. While managing some of the most fundamental data in an agency, modern records management systems accomplish more than collecting and storing electronic reports and information. They are advancing policing efforts by providing robust investigative tools, powerful searching capabilities, data-sharing mechanisms, and thorough reporting features. Many systems can create complex connections between categories of information, which enhance information analysis, facilitate precise decision making, and simplify workflow while increasing the quality of recorded data. Public safety agencies rely on a records management system (RMS) to adequately manage the entry, use, and extraction of information about events that occur in their jurisdictions. It is essential that the RMS provide integrated, real-time information to agency personnel to facilitate public safety activities and serve as a resource for improving operations.

ROI – Return on investment

SAA – Spillman Applications Administrator. A Spillman certification for the individual who administers Spillman software at an agency. The certification course provides SAAs with a minimal level of Spillman administration experience the basic skills needed to successfully managing the application.

SQL – Structured query language

TCP/IP – Transmission control protocol/internet protocol

UCR Program – The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program was conceived in 1929 by the International Association of Chiefs of Police to meet a need for reliable, uniform crime statistics for the nation. In 1930, the FBI was tasked with collecting, publishing, and archiving those statistics. Today, several annual statistical publications, such as the comprehensive Crime in the United States, are produced from data provided by nearly 17,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States.

USDOT – The United States Department of Transportation (USDOT or just DOT) is a federal Cabinet department of the United States government concerned with transportation. It is administered by the United States Secretary of Transportation. Its mission is to “Serve the United States by ensuring a fast, safe, efficient, accessible, and convenient transportation system that meets our vital national interests and enhances the quality of life of the American people, today and into the future.”

VoIP – Voice over Internet Protocol. A general term for a family of transmission technologies for delivery of voice communications over IP networks such as the Internet or other packet-switched networks.

VPN – Virtual private network. A computer network that is layered on top of an underlying computer network. The private nature of a VPN means that the data travelling over the VPN is not generally visible to, or is encapsulated from, the underlying network traffic. Similarly, the traffic within the VPN appears to the underlying network as just another traffic stream to be passed. A VPN connection can be envisioned as a “pipe within a pipe”, with the outer pipe being the underlying network connection.

XML – Extensible markup language