Successful information sharing in law enforcement depends on what information is available. Different roles in law enforcement need various pieces of information related to crime. How and when that information is shared is vital to solving crimes and gathering crime rate statistics.
Many police departments are changing the way they manage and share data outside their agency and with other agencies. In today’s world, sharing information is as important as gathering that information.
Law enforcement information sharing has improved significantly across all levels of government, improving crime prevention, response times, and number of cases solved. Data sharing is not only an important aspect of solving multijurisdictional crimes, it is a requirement. Why? Because criminals do not care about geographical boundaries.
The problem of information sharing is not about the amount of information collected, the problem is finding the right information, and finding it quickly. Too much or too little information can cause confusion and lead to inaccurate reporting, data collection, and incorrect information when apprehending criminals, reporting crimes, and reporting crime data.
The following steps/procedures can help in making sure information is shared and reported accurately.
1. Collect accurate information
The first step toward sharing data is collecting accurate information. The accuracy is more important than volume When numbers are accidentally transposed, colors are missing, or personal identifying information is not recorded correctly, data analysis can snowball out of control. Incorrect data will not be helpful.
2. Pick the correct software
Picking the correct software for your agency is as important as collecting the right information. Your data is only as good as those systems (people or software) used to interpret them. Find software that:
Is approved by your state’s criminal justice commission as you will be transmitting sensitive data
Is secured from unauthorized users
Is connected as a node – a central or connecting point of information for several agencies
Is capable of being cloud- or remote-based
Software should also be able to:
Perform partial searches on people, places and numbers;
Capture relevant data and make it available in a timely manner;
Identify crime trends and associations between possible suspects;
Capable of collecting data from difference sources.
Data-sharing software should allow each agency to keep and control its own information and make it available for other agencies to search and retrieve. Agencies should be able to decide what information is shared, restricted, and redacted.
3. Collaborate with other agencies
Police agencies must work together to solve crimes. Many municipalities share boarders or overlap with three or more agencies often only separated by a residential street or highway.
Make sure your agencies agree with what can and cannot be shared via data-sharing software and make sure data is collected accurately.
Being able to easily and quickly access crime data from neighboring agencies can help locate multijurisdictional criminals and identify regional crime trends. Work with each other to solve these crimes instead of independently trying to build your own case.
Opening the doors to agency data sharing will automatically lead to interagency collaboration. Data sharing accelerates law enforcement investigations by allowing agencies to reliably search information from outside their agency, helping catch criminals and reduce crime.