A FORCE UNITED: Information sharing across law enforcement

In the "Art of War," Sun Tzu says those "whose ranks are united in purpose will be victorious." But in the battle against crime and terrorism, unity with the sharing of intelligence has been a challenge for law enforcement. While technology is...


Morris County has used the program for 2 1/2 years. The system allows the county to tie records together and facilitates sharing between different offices. For instance, a prosecutor's office may have access to information from a correctional facility to assist with a case. The feedback has been very positive, and more users are being added every day.

Enforsys also recently began running a pilot project in Middlesex County, New Jersey. "We are breaking a paradigm in law enforcement," Plate says. "We need to get these entities in order and then make the connections. Today, we are better off than we were yesterday, but at a pace that only can be maintained if everyone is involved."

Memex. This Vienna, Virginia-based company has been providing intelligence sharing technology to the Los Angeles Joint Regional Intelligence Center (JRIC). JRIC uses its Patriarch application, formerly Intelligence Manager. Patriarch offers a repository of intelligent information allowing meaningful information management and control. "For something to be declared intelligent information, it has to have a higher level of scrutiny and be managed in a certain way," says Stephen Daniels, Memex's U.S. manager. "Our application provides organizations with the ability to go through the process of making information intelligent and regulating who gets access to that information."

Patriarch can work with both structured and unstructured data. This ability enables the computer to compensate for user error. For example, if a professional was searching for someone with a certain type of tattoo, but put the information in the wrong field, the program would still find accurate matches for that search.

Memex Analyst performs link analysis and pattern detection taking advantage of the information stored in Patriarch. "An analyst can go down a number of paths, and the application tracks series of assumptions and saves it," he says. "A user can then track things from a different perspective and be able to show the various ways he arrived at a conclusion." This tracking process can be very beneficial in a trial where an officer would need to show how he drew certain conclusions. Daniels continues, with the application you can document the link of Person A to Person B and use that information to connect to Person C.

Memex also has released two modules that deal with data about gangs and confidential informants. "The level of secrecy surrounding confidential informants is huge," Daniels explains. "With a module, the user has complete control over the information to avoid exposure of the informant." That control expands to the finest details. The system can be setup to withhold certain data from the repository, and the owner of the data would know if someone did a search for it. A future expansion will include a federated search ability allowing the Memex system to search other repositories and make query data available.

Svivot. The Newark, New Jersey-based company's SN-Sphere is a platform with components that work together in a JXDM-compatible, client/server environment. On the server end of the system, metadata is collected in a central repository available for searches, lookup and analysis. Once the information is collected, a pre-processing function puts the data in a structure designed to optimize performance for network linkage. "We can analyze billions of records in a short period of time thanks to pre-processing," Roth says. This allows the owner of the data to control the information to be shared.

SN-Sphere's application offers a model builder for analysis, allowing users to create models and links based upon interests. Roth explains the technology "helps resolve greater conflicts." For example, in one database a person reportedly has brown hair but it's listed as blonde in another. "We make a logical entry based upon rules such as Social Security Number, date of birth, etc. to link them together," he explains. Results for analysis are offered as visual charts, grid formats or timeline analysis. SN-Sphere also can do connectivity tests to analyze a connection between two individuals. In addition, the program offers a Teamwork Investigators Desktop that affords users a chance to enter their information into the central database. It also is possible to use the program to make link charts and perform other types of analysis with the tool. "Our technology helps break through many of the challenges," Roth says. "We have a tool that determines what is shared and what is not, and in return, we give them tools that are helpful for their job."

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