Thinkstream also eliminates other radio use, improving security. "If I've got something, security-wise, I want to tell everybody working, I can pull up a text message session in Thinkstream and send everyone a message," says Baker. "Everybody on the shift knows to go to their mailbox and, without ever saying a word over the radio, I can get all the information I need out to them."
By applying information sharing in this manner, it gives agencies a great deal of flexibility and control. Each database owner controls how much access they provide to their information.
A major concern with sharing information stems from a legal and auditing standpoint. "If a suspect is arrested and that arrest legally gets expunged where nobody can ever see it again, is it guaranteed the warehouse file gets expunged from a data warehouse? How timely does it get expunged?" asks San Soucie. There is a constant concern about the integrity of the data.
With Thinkstream technology, the information stays on the owner's database. "The data stays fresh and the owner is in total control over who he decides to share it with," says Malone. "It is important for departments to make sure if a record is getting moved, the copy is identical to the original, especially between backups."
To further control shared information, access to specific information can be broken down by the user. "A local officer searching the local records management system might be able to see narratives that are turned in with incident reports/arrest reports, whereas someone else connecting might be able to get a hold of the arrest report but not the narrative," says Malone.
There also can be external issues that intervene in the application of information sharing. "We have the ability to share information between states," says San Soucie. "But getting paperwork signed by the right people is harder than making the technology work."
The case for information sharing
Officers need the resources to effectively and safely do their jobs and information sharing would be the extra ammunition to arm officers with. "Technology is the only solution to overcome the sharing of information obstacle," says Webre. "Until technology is properly deployed, you're not going to overcome it. Thinkstream is an example of a solution to overcome information sharing obstacles."
Webre goes on to say he believes Thinkstream is a technological advance which gives the officer access to information that not only makes him a better police officer and improves the efficiency of the criminal justice system, but makes it safer for officers to know who they're dealing with.
Not effectively sharing information allows a criminal to operate in a neighboring jurisdiction or within overlapping jurisdictions because each agency maintains its own database information. As is in the case of Louisiana, users with Thinkstream can run information and receive a suspect's criminal history from another Parish or other criminal justice department. "This is something law enforcement has been hunting for years and years," says Baker. "It's getting to the point where I can run one name/race/sex/DOB and check every sheriff's office in the state for warrants."
The success of a business is generally defined by profit and the bottom line. In the business of law enforcement, success hinges on the effectiveness of a department's enforcement. Thinkstream offers tools so law enforcement can ensure business remains good.