Louisville-based Appriss is a cutting-edge technology company, but its sole focus isn’t on data, analytics or systems. It’s on how that technology can solve large-scale problems that affect people and communities every day. The company comprises three business units: Appriss Safety, Appriss Health and Appriss Retail. While each is distinct, they are all founded upon the same premise, explains Aaron Davis, Director of Corporate Marketing, which is “to create solutions that help people and benefit society.”
Originally known as The VINE Company, Appriss was founded by current CEO Mike Davis and Yung Nguyen in 1994,in response to the tragic death of a local woman who was murdered by a former boyfriend shortly after he was released from jail. The idea that her life might have been saved had she been notified of her offender’s release inspired the young entrepreneurs to develop (Victim Information and Notification Everyday)—the nation’s first automated victim notification system.
What began as a locally based system sparked the interest of law enforcement agencies across the country. “VINE was a solution to an issue other counties and states were encountering: how to help keep victims informed and safe,” says Davis. It rapidly spread from Jefferson County to the rest of the country.
Today, VINE is the foundation of millions of victims’ safety plans, delivering over 43 million offender custody status notifications annually. It is used state-wide across 42 states and at a local level in another six states−covering approximately 3,000 communities and 42 Department of Correction systems.
Building a public safety solutions platform
As VINE was adopted across the country, the company’s data network continued to expand. Working with law enforcement officials, the Justice Intelligence platform was developed and launched in 2001. Justice Intelligence provides booking information, charges, and offender photographs to help law enforcement agencies investigate and locate persons of interest.
Appriss Safety also began helping entitlement program agencies automatically monitor specific populations, such as Medicaid beneficiaries, unemployment insurance claimants, hard-to-locate non-custodial parents, and SNAP/TANF beneficiaries for incarceration activity. Agencies are able to reduce fraud and prevent improper payments while Medicaid beneficiaries, unemployment insurance recipients, and SNAP/TANF recipients are in the various stages of incarceration.
Appriss Safety also helps credit reporting agencies and background screening companies enhance their product offerings with timely, national incarceration data.
In 2000, the company’s name was changed to coincide with an expanded scope of work. “Appriss” is a derivation of the word “apprise,” which means “to notify.”
“Our current name comes from the word ‘apprise,’ because our company was evolving but our main purpose was still to inform the people who use our services,” says Davis. “We firmly believe in our motto — Knowledge for good — and it continues to be the driving force at Appriss.”
From fighting crime to fighting substance abuse
The rise of illegal methamphetamine production and use has affected millions of Americans, directly and indirectly, and led to a 2006 law designed to prevent meth from being manufactured, helping fight the drug epidemic.
Under the Appriss Health umbrella, two solutions were designed to help prevent the misuse of medicine containing pseudoephedrine (PSE), which is illegally used in methamphetamine production. MethCheck, launched in 2007, is now used by nearly 50,000 pharmacies to track and manage the sales of over-the-counter PSE drugs.
NPLEx, launched in 2009, is available to state agencies, pharmacies, retailers, and law enforcement agencies to track PSE sales and it’s used in more than 30 states. In 2016 alone, the system helped block sales of more than 4 million boxes of PSE drugs that could potentially have ended up being used in meth production.
It was another natural evolution to develop NarxCare, PMP AWARxE and PMP Gateway—products that help doctors and pharmacies better manage prescription drug use. These products are used to help recognize substance abuse earlier and identify patients at risk of developing substance abuse disorders.
Helping retailers keep costs in check (so you don’t pay more for the products you need)
In 2015, Appriss took on another problem that affects the stores we shop in every day: retail fraud. “Ninety-nine percent of a store’s customers are honest people who don’t steal or make fraudulent returns,” explains Davis. “But the other one percent can cost a business tens of millions dollars every year, and it’s the good customers who suffer as prices increase.”
Appriss Retail developed its Verify and Secure Store products to help stores reduce losses related to fraud or theft. Verify helps retail business identify behaviors associated with return fraud or abuse without penalizing customers legitimately returning their products. Secure Store helps companies identify loss potential, whether it’s from customers or employees, and analyze transactions that may seem innocent but can indicate hidden loss.
Continuing to fight the good fight
What started as a small tech-based company in Louisville serving Jefferson County has grown into a business with customers in 25 countries on four continents. Appriss has successfully launched a diverse range of products and services in its 24-year history, but there is a common thread that binds them all together — the belief that technology can be used for the good in society. They call this Knowledge for good.
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