Government: leveraging resources for greater effectiveness by ProQuest


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									                                                                                             By Judith Lamont, KMWorld senior writer

                           leveraging resources
                           for greater effectiveness
                                      hen it comes to data sharing     responsible organization, onto a “front    enforcement officials to the presence

                           W          by law enforcement agen-
                                      cies, the primary obstacles
                           are not usually technological, but terri-
                                                                       porch” location beyond the agency’s
                                                                       firewall. From there, it is incorporated
                                                                       into a separate data warehouse in an
                                                                                                                  of a suspected Al Qaeda member in
                                                                                                                  the Washington, D.C., area could
                                                                                                                  have contributed to detection of the
                           torial. Agencies understandably want        Oracle ( relational data-       plan ahead of time. Also, following
              Innovative   to retain authority over areas, both geo-   base. Queries are run against the data     the connections from one individual
                           graphical and functional, for which         warehouse, not against the source data.    to another can lead to much more
                           they are held responsible. Still, at a          Different agencies have different      important criminals.
                ways of    time when resources are scarce and          policies for release of data, making           The example of a drug user
                           demands are many, more law enforce-         a consistent standard of openness          arrested by local police shows how
              managing     ment organizations are participating in     difficult to come by.                      far the system can reach. “The indi-
                           data sharing systems, and have reaped                                                  vidual was a ‘frequent flier’ in the
          information      significant benefits. Consolidating data    Agency participation                       law enforcement community, with
                           from multiple agencies has allowed for          “Sometimes it takes a lot of dis-      81 incidents to which he was con-
               can help    better analysis, leading to the capture     cussion with the local agencies to         nected,” Estrem says. “His phone
                           of lawbreakers who would otherwise          arrive at a consensus,” says Dan           number was linked to five cases in
                           have gone free.                             Estrem, a consultant at the Center         another jurisdiction, three of which
         government            The Law Enforcement Informa-            for Strategic Management (CSM,             contained his name but two of which
                           tion Exchange (LInX) is a data shar-, which conducts strate-        did not. In those cases, the phone
               agencies    ing initiative launched to improve          gic planning for law enforcement and       number was used by two people who
                           information sharing across all levels       has been involved in the development       had been in an automobile accident.”
        achieve their      of law enforcement in regions of the        of LInX, “but so far we have had 100       One of those individuals was in turn
                           United States having critical Depart-       percent involvement by all the local       linked to an abandoned vehicle and
     missions while        ment of Defense (           law enforcement agencies that we           an address where an incident had
                           and Navy ( assets. The pro-        invited to participate.”                   occurred. From that address, author-
                           gram is run by the Naval Criminal               More than 500 municipal, county,       ities identified a local airstrip where
      making better        Investigative Service (       state and federal law enforcement          drugs were being smuggled from
                           and operates in seven regions, with         agencies are participating, and the        overseas by individuals with terror-
                  use of   two additional regions under devel-         system now contains over 500 mil-          ist connections.
                           opment. One of the underlying con-          lion records.                                  The image on page 10 shows the
          resources.       cepts of LInX is that information               Often, the first contact made with     LInX interface and illustrates graph-
                           collected at the local level can lead       an individual who later turns out to       ically how successive queries led to
                           to resolution of broader criminal           be involved in more serious crimes         information in different jurisdictions
                           activities.                                 is for a relatively minor infraction       and narrowed the search.
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