SEATTLE—Thanking him for his tireless work to secure funds to upgrade an irreplaceable law enforcement database housed within the Attorney General's Office (AGO), Attorney General Rob McKenna today presented state Representative Mark Ericks with a special award at the AGO's Annual Attorney Conference in downtown Seattle.
The Homicide Investigations Tracking System, known as HITS, is a software application which stores crime-related information voluntarily contributed by police and sheriffs’ departments in the Pacific Northwest. The database acts as a central repository for detailed information on violent crimes occurring in Washington and Oregon.
HITS was developed in 1987 after several cases involving notorious murderers such as Ted Bundy, Wesley Allen Dodd and the Green River Killer. These cases emphasized the fact that criminals have no respect for boundaries. Whether by design or accident, they often commit many types of crimes across many different jurisdictions.
"By virtue of its age and advances in technology, HITS was dangerously close to failing," McKenna said. "It was imperative that we upgraded to new technology that could house the tremendous amount of information we've already collected while allowing us to add more data and run more robust queries.
"As the first investigator to work with HITS system, aiding the Attorney General's Office on loan from the Bellevue Police Department before the HITS unit was even created, Rep. Ericks was instrumental in explaining to his fellow legislators how crucial our (HITS) program is to law enforcement in our state," McKenna said.
Ericks spent 18 years with the Bellevue Police Department, forming and working in the Juvenile Victims Unit, working in Vice Narcotics and Hostage Negotiations (Crisis Negotiator) and serving as both Property Crimes Lieutenant and Major Crimes Commander. He worked 12 years for the Bothell Police Department, serving as the Chief of Police before retiring.
"As a former police chief, I know how valuable HITS is to law enforcement so I was only too happy to be in a position to help HITS survive," Ericks said. "Our goal is to make it a bad day for murderers in our state."
Janelle Guthrie, Communications Director, 360-586-0725 or 360-584-3046 (cell)