COPLINK CompStat Analyzer automates crime data analysis

     Since its inception in New York City in 1994, CompStat — short for comparative or computer statistics — has gained considerable recognition for its role in knowledge-based law enforcement. Used by police departments across the country...


     Cahhal says the GEOC concept is part of a larger regional data sharing initiative that began (along with Los Angeles County's COPLINK deployment) in December 2007. In Los Angeles County, the sheriff's department's COPLINK node joins two others: the Los Angeles Police Department node, and the Regional Terrorist Integrated Information System (RTIIS), a node for the remaining municipal policing agencies in Los Angeles County that is expected to be fully functional by the end of 2008. "In addition to these nodes," Cahhal says, "The Los Angeles Sheriff's Department is sharing data with Orange County's COPLINK node (ILJAOC), ICE, N-DEx, and is close to signing a data sharing agreement with San Diego County (ARJIS)."

Technical requirements

     COPLINK CompStat Analyzer does not need to be customized to an agency, so it remains comparatively affordable. Yet despite being proprietary, it can work with any RMS built on any database. In agencies with more complex requirements, such as the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, it does require a degree of customization. "L.A. County has 140 million records in its node," says Cahhal, who says this caused some initial performance problems with CompStat Analyzer. Now that a database upgrade is complete, however, beta testing has resumed with the module's latest version.

     For its actual operation, says Fund, "The COPLINK application requires no more bandwidth than it requires to view the typical CNN.com homepage. Depending on your activity within the application, the bandwidth can range anywhere from about 10K for basic result screens to 200K for complex Incident Analyzer and CompStat displays."

     Many police departments may not have the infrastructure to support the use of COPLINK modules like CompStat Analyzer in patrol cars. Fund says more agencies are installing Wi-Fi systems that will enable this kind of usage. In the meantime, COPLINK Mobile exists for departments that want their officers to access data via limited-bandwidth devices, such as mobile phones and PDAs.

     As DeLorenzi, Shane & Amendole wrote in "The CompStat Process: Managing Performance on the Pathway to Leadership" in 2006: "It is undeniable that the core management theories of CompStat, 'directing and controlling,' have been demonstrated to be effective means for controlling crime. But the CompStat process also has an inherent opportunity for developing leaders and improving the leadership process ... when used effectively for accountability and problem solving, [it] can be a means for developing potential leaders and promoting cooperative and creative leadership." CompStat Analyzer's easy access to records and its automated processes make this even more of a reality for agencies that use it.

     Christa Miller (www.christamiller.com) is a freelance writer based in southern Maine.

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