As law enforcement agencies strive to keep communities safer, the ability to integrate and share information has become an integral part of the investigative process.
Similarly, the ever-present threat of terrorism impacts on the law enforcement environment continually, requiring agencies to hold, analyze and disseminate information from around the globe. In recent years, the dramatic uptick in cross-state criminal and terrorist activity acts, coupled with the need for large-scale emergency response to natural disasters, has brought the issues of interoperability and interagency communication center stage. While post 9/11 efforts have spurred information sharing among agencies at a local level, government officials are urging agencies to speed up the process. i2
products are continually being enhanced to offer comprehensive solutions with the flexibility required to address challenges in the following areas: Counter terrorism; Fusion Centers; Major investigations; Volume crime; Public order/ Major event management; Organized crime; and Neighborhood/community policing. i2’s Intelligence-Led Operations Platform proactively allows public safety agencies to deter, prevent, predict and disrupt the world’s most sophisticated criminal and terrorist threats. i2 products like Analyst’s Notebook® and COPLINK® enable police officers, analysts, managers, detectives and investigators to uncover hidden connections faster, deliver timely and actionable results, and communicate complex situations more clearly than ever. IACP Panel Discussion
i2 held a panel discussion at the 117th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) conference in Orlando to discuss the need for information sharing. Tim Riley, senior vice president, i2 and former CIO of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), gave real-world examples and tips on how to advance regional communications and data sharing across jurisdictions. Other participants included Dave Maggard, chief of police, Irvine, Calif.; Robert Griffiths, executive director, Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police; and Bob Griffin, chief executive officer, i2.
During this panel discussion, participants discussed: Current challenges facing agencies as they look to update legacy, proprietary systems that discouraged cross-region and agency data sharing; Lessons federal agencies can learn from state and local level roll-outs; Examples of how major cities, including Irvine, Calif., Tampa Bay, Fla., and Toronto are building out networks so that police forces can seamlessly communicate and share data across agencies and even across state borders to improve criminal investigations and fight terrorist threats and cross-state crimes; How cross agency communication at the local level can be embraced and leveraged as best practices for designing, purchasing and implementing an integrated, interoperable communications network.
According to Riley, i2’s COPLINK brought disparate data together. The LAPD and the L.A. Sheriff’s Department can share seamlessly between each other plus 44 other departments in the Los Angeles area. Riley cited an example of a serial robbery case in which an officer transposed the numbers in a license plate. However, by putting that information into COPLINK, a match was found, even though the numbers were not in the same sequence.
LAPD used a COPS grant to buy its i2 solutions. The return on investment (ROI) was immediate, according to Riley. The L.A. Sheriff’s Department brought information on open cases to COPLINK training sessions where several were solved.
Similarly, Orange County selected COPLINK to integrate disparate records management systems (RMS). “The ultimate goal was to get the information out to the officers,” Maggard said. Maggard gave the example of a case of a donation box that was stolen out of a fast food restaurant. Officers put a video-captured picture into a flyer. A dispatcher looks at the tattoo on the suspect in the photo and finds a match in COPLINK. The suspect was brought in and arrested after being identified in a lineup.
Maggard said Orange County received federal funding through the Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) by the Department of Homeland Security. It is based on the population of the community. Regardless of cost, it is “money well spent,” Maggard stated.
Griffiths is retired from the Anchorage Police Department, and he said in Alaska, a huge disparity exists in the size of agencies, anywhere from 400 to two officers. Criminals often move from one community to the next. His department made an arrest based on an “Alaska” tattoo, a detail they put into COPLINK. Boston and Orange County, Calif.
The Boston Police Department (BPD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Integrated Law and Justice Agency for Orange County (ILJAOC), a Joint Powers Authority comprised of all member agencies of the Criminal Justice System in Orange County, Calif., to share law enforcement information and criminal data between the two jurisdictions. BPD and ILJAOC use i2’s COPLINK. Established in 2004 with a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, the ILJAOC developed and implemented a regional justice information sharing system that allows all Orange County law enforcement agencies to share the information in their records, jail and court management systems, which also includes current and served warrants, all citation data generated in the County, as well as terms and conditions of probation information for those being supervised by the Court.
As a result of the information sharing agreement with Orange County, BPD now has access to data from more than 60 million searchable documents from 25 Orange County agencies and vice versa. The ILJAOC also has information sharing agreements with Oregon; San Diego; the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department; the Los Angeles Police Department; Mesa, Ariz.; Tucson, Ariz.; Spokane, Wash.; and Sacramento, Calif.,—all with COPLINK nodes. In total, the ILJAOC system is capable of accessing almost a quarter of a billion records—a number that grows daily through the current sharing agreements in place and others in the works.
The nature of law enforcement today calls for a cross-jurisdictional approach that speeds up investigations. “Criminals don’t know geographic or political boundaries,” said Bob McDonell, ILJAOC Executive Director and former Chief of Police of the Newport Beach, Calif., Police Department. “There is so much criminal data at the local level that can be an invaluable tool in solving crimes. The ILJAOC’s mission is to share this resource with as many jurisdictions as possible.” COPLINK enhances information sharing within and between the local and regional law enforcement agencies that contribute to and access ILJAOC databases, in accordance with each agency’s sharing priorities, policies and applicable laws.
The system allows investigators to feed the limited information they have about a crime and search across multiple jurisdictions to learn about similar elements that can potentially generate leads and crack a tough case quickly. The capability also exists to share with federal agencies, once information-sharing agreements can be reached.
In one case a suspect was involved in a La Palma, Calif., bar fight and stabbed a patron in the neck. A description of the perpetrator indicated his name was thought to be?Wesley. COPLINK identified a possible suspect named Wes, age 52, who lived near the bar. The suspect had never been in contact with the La Palma Police Department. However, COPLINK showed that he had police contacts in Buena Park, Anaheim and Fullerton, Calif. The suspect was then positively identified by witnesses and subsequently arrested.
Without COPLINK, the La Palma Police Department would not have had access to the information from the neighboring jurisdictions. “As part of a typical investigation, one of our officers may enter information into COPLINK and learn that a person of interest or suspect recently was given a speeding ticket in Irvine, Calif., which could lead to additional information that accelerates solving a crime,” said William Casey, deputy superintendant for BPD. “In the past, we would have to go through the time consuming task of contacting someone from Irvine. We hope to see other jurisdictions across the country join this initiative.” “Quickly connecting multiple jurisdictions for information sharing is one of the main benefits of using COPLINK for lead generation,” said Bob Griffin, CEO of i2. “With this agreement, now Boston and all law enforcement agencies across Orange County can continuously share, analyze and act on information that can help prevent, prepare for and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.” San Antonio
The City of San Antonio awarded i2 a contract with enforcement agencies in the Southwest Texas Regional Fusion Center (SWTRFC), as well as with neighboring fusion centers in Houston, Austin, El Paso and Dallas. As part of the largest law enforcement information sharing initiative in Texas, SWTRFC joins more than 50 percent of fusion centers across the U.S. that rely on i2 to help prevent and disrupt terrorist and criminal activity.
The most widely deployed tactical lead generation tool in the U.S., COPLINK enhances information sharing within and between local, regional, tribal, state and federal law enforcement agencies, in accordance with each agency’s sharing priorities, policies and applicable laws. Statewide deployments include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Florida and Missouri. “Cooperation and communication between law enforcement personnel in different agencies are now the rule, rather than the exception,” said San Antonio Police Chief William McManus. “On a regional and statewide scale, COPLINK will help us reveal similar crime patterns and identify suspects that span multiple jurisdictions in a way that will make use of all existing data housed in multiple databases.” “With so much existing criminal data at the local level, cities like San Antonio are taking the lead in creating an environment where that information can be shared easily and cost effectively,” said Robert Griffin, i2 CEO. “And once COPLINK is deployed, San Antonio can easily connect with other jurisdictions across the country, which further removes borders and silos in the process.”
Under terms of the contract, i2 will provide SWTRFC with COPLINK Detect and the following components: Adaptive Analytical Architecture – Enables information sharing with other COPLINK nodes deployed in fusion centers and regional, statewide and national information sharing databases. Intel L.E.A.D. -- Extends COPLINK criminal history information management capabilities with the ability to enter and manage intelligence information in compliance with privacy mandates 28 CFR part 23. Authorized users will be able to simultaneously search and access law enforcement and intelligence data to see all available information.
Agencies participating in SWTRFC include the San Antonio Police Department, San Antonio Fire Department, City of San Antonio Office of Emergency Management, Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, Laredo Police Department, Corpus Christi Police Department and Valero Energy Corporation. SWTRFC will be built in a manner that exceeds applicable state and federal regulations regarding privacy. The first phase of SWTRFC will go live in November 2010.
Fusion centers such as SWTRFC were created following the 9/11 attacks as a joint effort between the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to ensure and facilitate collaboration and information sharing between local agencies, across state lines, and between the state and federal levels, with a particular emphasis on preventing and responding to terrorist and criminal activities. Though many of the country’s fusion centers have developed independently and remain different in size and scope, their missions are the same, and i2’s solutions enable an across-the-board consistency and unprecedented information sharing capability. Photos courtesy of i2.