Analytics

Published on July 16th, 2013 | by admin

Consolidated Analytics: Wave of the future or a temporary fix?

Over the last few years there has been a trend towards the consolidation of analytical functions in law enforcement agencies worldwide. Several large agencies, piloted by the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department and the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Department, have led the charge to merge intelligence and crime analyst functions into a combined unit and/or chain of command with tremendous success.

Will other agencies follow suit to reap the benefits of this model or is this just a short-term tactic to maximize dwindling resources?

What’s wrong with old practices?

In traditional models, intelligence analysts and their intelligence databases and programs have tended to be sequestered from other crime analysis units due in part to 28 CFR Part 23 requirements. However, with the advance of technology, compliance with intelligence database restrictions has become significantly easier.

How Agencies Benefit from New Technology

New technology provides agencies with the ability to isolate and encrypt data, institute role based access models, facilitate rigorous auditing and preserve the integrity of intelligence files in secure storage.  Agencies may even use cloud based storage as the executive order reads “(6) A project may authorize and utilize remote (off-premises) system data bases to the extent that they comply with these security requirements.”

Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Jacksonville and other agencies have successfully brought disparate analyst assignments under one unified mission.  All analysts receive cross training on tactics, programs, procedures and methodologies that allow for greater flexibility in personnel movement as well as rallying the troops when a major event transpires.

Bang for Your Buck

In addition to the efficacies gained by this new paradigm, there is certainly a significant financial benefit as well. While overlapping skill sets provide for a more nimble response to crime trends and events, it also provides a much better “bang for the buck” in each individual analyst’s full time employee costs.  Many agencies are being asked to do more with less. This centralized model delivers analytic services from a more productive workforce.

What happens next?

The questions remain: Will this archetype see increasing use across the United States within our law enforcement agencies?  Will old practices crumble in the face of new technology and changing analytic requirements? Or will agencies continue to adhere to long held customs “because that’s the way we’ve always done it.”

I would submit that it should be a high priority for each agency to re-evaluate their existing analytic models and consider with an open mind the benefits of embracing more modern ways of conducting law enforcement and intelligence activities. Of course this then requires new software products that can support such an effort. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Have you noticed the trend towards consolidated analytics in your agency?


Doug Grant
Law Enforcement Liaison, SS8

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