Don't Reinvent the Wheel

"We feel comfortable doing what we're doing because that's what we're used to doing, but maybe there are gems out there from other agencies' processes [that we can learn from]," Dean Gialamas, the director of Forensic Science Services for the Orange County (California) Sheriff's Department.

In line with his thinking, this issue is chock full of examples to learn from and take home to your own department.

Take the Philadelphia Police Department in "An eye on crime" on Page 102, which recently initiated a pilot program installing surveillance cameras in public areas after video footage helped solve several homicides in the city. These cameras keep a watchful eye on the community and provide police with necessary information after a crime occurs.

Or what about the South Carolina Information Exchange (SCIEx), where an information sharing network quickly spread beyond county lines, state lines and into the national arena. See tips from SCIEx's developers on how to make information sharing work for you on Page 94.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department relies on DNA evidence to help solve high-volume serial crimes, such as burglary, vandalism and theft. Orange County officials report, in "Sneak thieves and burglars beware" on Page 122, this initiative not only catches criminals but prevents future crimes.

In "Kids with guns" on Page 14, we learn how Boston, the host city of the 113th Annual IACP Conference, helps fight juvenile crime. See how in one initiative, probation and police officials joined forces, took to the streets during the evening hours and began a mission of making probation violators wish they weren't in violation.

In the fight against crime, it isn't always necessary to reinvent the wheel. In many cases, other communities already have it rolling and it's possible to re-tool it to fit your community. As Gialamas says, "There are bits and pieces of other agencies' processes that we can learn from and incorporate into our own processes so we can achieve greater success in our area."