The Senate set aside $250 million over five years Monday for police agencies to upgrade technology and make it easier to exchange information about criminal history records in job and security clearances.

By unanimous voice vote, the Senate authorized grants over five years for police to buy systems that would improve the sharing of criminal identification including DNA information and automated fingerprinting. Annual spending levels would be set each year by Congress."Law enforcement agencies should not have to jerry-rig older equipment to communicate with each other across state lines," said Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee. "Timely and dependable communication is a cornerstone of effective crime-fighting."