When it comes to data sharing by law enforcement agencies, the primary obstacles are not usually technological, but territorial. Agencies understandably want to retain authority over areas, both geographical and functional, for which they are held responsible. The Law Enforcement Information Exchange (LInX) is a data sharing initiative launched to improve information sharing across all levels of law enforcement in regions of the US having critical Department of Defense and Navy assets. More than 500 municipal, county, state and federal law enforcement agencies are participating, and the system now contains over 500 million records. The LInX system has overcome organizational barriers and now connects local data across participating jurisdictions. In another innovative approach to managing information, the US State Department is now using XML technology to improve efficiency in posting documents to its Web site and to enhance the usability of those documents for researchers and policyholders. XML is a key enabler in government applications, according to John Kreisa, director of industry solutions at Mark Logic.
By Judith Lamont, KMWorld senior writer Government: 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 (oracle.com) 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- csmweb.com), 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 (defenselink.mil) law enforcement agencies that we an address where an incident had and Navy (navy.mil) 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 (ncis.navy.mil) 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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