Check your connections

Connections are sort of an unofficial theme of this issue. Every day we make new connections, connect the dots, and even miss connections altogether. In public safety a ‘better connection’ can streamline a process or save a life.

In the story Integrating LIMS, Robert Galvin writes about the steps some agencies are taking to link processes and systems in automated forensic labs. Even though many crime labs now employ a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS), some of these labs are still disengaged from their LIMS. Integration is critical to unlocking these systems’ potential, avoiding pockets of lost information.

In 2013 Kansas City Police Department, after battling system incompatibility, acquired management software program that combined evidence management systems. Since the integration, KCPD Captain Mark Terman says they have a tighter chain of custody and workflow has improved, as have lab report results.

In this issue’s Talking Points we take on Big Data connections. How does your agency efficiently use all that data from smartphones, neighboring jurisdictions, NCIC and RMS? (And how does the reality conflict with what the public thinks you can do?) Today’s real challenge of Big Data isn’t creating the data, but harnessing it across systems and channeling it toward a responsible and actionable purpose.

Finally, in Left to die, Michelle Perin brings to light a troubling fact: in a recent study the FCC estimated 10,000 people die each year because first responders cannot find them after they call 911 via a mobile device. This is especially true when a caller is inside a vertical, multi-storied structures, where wireless location accuracy decreases. The answer to this tragic inefficiency may lie in improved indoor location technology, updated FCC mandates, and state-of-the-art tech in local, state and county governments.

The technology exists to unite more systems—new and old—resulting in better speed, clarity and overall safety on the job.

Check your connections to see if you can’t make life a bit better for yourselves or the public you serve.