Commentary and information about public safety and security, intelligence and counterintelligence, open government and secrecy, and other issues in northern Idaho and eastern Washington.

Location: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, United States

Raised in Palouse, WA. Graduated from Washington State University. US Army (Counterintelligence). US Secret Service (Technical Security Division) in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac and Los Angeles. Now living in north Idaho.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Good Ideas, Not Toys

Too often law enforcement administrators are overwhelmed by technology ("toys" in copspeak). Consequently, they spend grant money and taxpayer dollars on inappropriate toys. When imaginative, innovative public administrators put their minds to it, they can appropriately use our dollars to do their jobs more effectively.

A good example of an appropriate use of money is the New York Police Department's Real Time Crime Center. As the name suggests, the objective of the Center is to get critical information about a crime and its immediate environment to street investigators and officers in real time, within minutes and not hours or days or weeks of its occurring.

According to the linked article from the November 4, 2005, Government Technology article by Jim McKay and headlined "Gaining Ground", in many instances soon after the first NYPD officer arrives at the scene of a major crime, she will receive:
  • 911/311 data review: analyzing any previous 911 and 311 information that relates to the current call.
  • Location analysis: reviewing data to garner intelligence on any previous crimes or events at the location.
  • Victim analysis: developing intelligence on the victim, such as the victim's known associates, enemies, previous addresses or involvement in crimes.
  • Pattern analysis: reading the data, including GIS maps, to look for trends in crimes that might relate to the current call.
  • Suspect analysis: using the data to find ties to the suspect -- relatives, tattoos, previous addresses, etc. -- to possibly tie the suspect to other crimes.

This article is a must-read for law enforcement adminstrators whose technology vision extends beyond bigger flashlights, faster cars, and Tasers. The article discusses how the NYPD's Real Time Crime Center is scalable to departments of various sizes.


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