Entrepreneurs’ Search for Justice Saves Lives, Protects Communities

Appriss CEO Mike Davis speaking at a VINE conference

Twenty-six years ago, unthinkable tragedy befell a Louisville, Kentucky, family. Out of the ashes, a technological solution was developed to address the root cause of this tragedy. From this solution grew Appriss, a company that has impacted millions of American lives through its mission of providing “Knowledge for Good.”

Victim Notification Is Started

Mary Byron
The 1993 murder of Mary Byron is the reason behind VINE.

Mary Byron was a young Louisville woman with a bright future, good friends, and a loving family. Mary had been brutally raped and assaulted by a former partner, who was subsequently arrested and incarcerated for these acts. Two weeks later, unbeknownst to Mary and her family, her assaulter posted bond and was freed. On the evening of December 6, 1993, Mary sat warming her car after leaving work at a popular mall. Her assaulter approached from the driver’s side and fired seven bullets into her head and chest at point-blank range, killing her. It was Mary’s 21st birthday.

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There was an immediate outcry in Mary’s close-knit, devastated community. In response, the county requested bids to develop a system that would notify crime victims electronically when their offenders were released from custody.

Mike Davis, a local aspiring entrepreneur, watched Mary’s heartbroken parents on the news and was motivated to act. A colleague, Yung Nguyen, shared his passion, and they committed themselves to developing a technological solution to address this dangerous gap in our system. Davis and Nguyen were ultimately awarded the contract and went on to build the nation’s first automated victim notification system.

Exactly one year after Mary’s death, in a single county in Kentucky, the pair launched the Victim Information and Notification Everyday (VINE). Today VINE is nationwide, spanning 48 states and making over 40 million notifications each year. It is an integral and foundational piece of victim safety planning in the US. It empowers millions of victims by giving them the information they need to stay safe—an opportunity Mary and her family did not have.

VINE lets victims of crime and other concerned citizens access reliable offender custody status information in real time. It is offered free of charge to registrants, is completely confidential, and features multiple language support. VINE is accessible by website, mobile device, and/or telephone. Registrants can choose to receive notifications by telephone, SMS (text), email, and/or in-app notification. Sensitivity-trained victim service representatives are available to the public around-the-clock, 24/7/365.

Knowledge for Good

Though VINE remains its foundation, Appriss is a very different company today than it was 25 years ago. Now larger and more sophisticated, over the years it has expanded the breadth of its solutions and expertise. Today Appriss is made up of technology experts and data scientists who are driven to solve some of the most complex societal and business problems.

While you may know Appriss best through one or more of the retail solution providers it has acquired—The Retail Equation, Sysrepublic, LP Software, and Verisk Retail—its VINE victim notification solution and its commitment to “Knowledge for Good” are the cornerstones of Appriss in retail and all other markets.

A detailed interview with Appriss CEO Mike Davis is available here. 

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