Feds Giving Local Cops More Access to Critical Intelligence
by Jim Kouri
The National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan represents law enforcement's commitment to take it upon itself to ensure that the dots are connected, be it in crime or terrorism.
The plan is the outcome of an unprecedented effort by law enforcement agencies, with the strong support of the Department of Justice, to strengthen the nation's security through better intelligence analysis and sharing.
The Department of Justice is effectively pursuing the goals of the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan by ensuring that all of its components are effectively sharing information with each other and the rest of the nation's law enforcement community.
Through the Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, the Attorney General captures the views of more than 30 groups representing 1.2 million justice professionals from all levels of government. Global members wrote the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan and published guides, best practices, and standards for information sharing.
The Department's Chief Information Officer, under the authority of the Deputy Attorney General, has formed a Law Enforcement Information Sharing Initiative to establish a strategy for the Department of Justice to routinely share information to all levels of the law enforcement community and to guide the investment of resources in information systems that will further this goal. The strategy identifies how the Department of Justice will support the implementation of the Plan.
The newly established Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council under Global will serve to set national-level policies to implement the Plan and monitor its progress on the state and local level. The CICC will work with the Department's Law Enforcement Information Strategy Initiative and with the Justice Intelligence Coordinating Council, created by a directive of the Attorney General, to improve the flow of intelligence information among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has built an intelligence program to fulfill its responsibility to get vital information about those who would do us harm to those who can act to prevent that harm. To that end, the FBI has built robust intelligence production and sharing processes enabled by technologies developed and operated by the Criminal Justice Information Systems Division.
The FBI has established an intelligence requirements process to both drive its investigative work against common threats and to satisfy the information needs of the larger U.S. national security community, including other partners in law enforcement. This process ensures that the FBI produces not only the information it can produce, but also the information it must produce to safeguard the nation.
In addition, the FBI has implemented a policy of "writing to release" to ensure the maximum amount of information is pushed to key personnel and partners at the lowest possible classification level. The FBI Intelligence Webpage on Law Enforcement Online was created to make this information available at the unclassified level for FBI partners in state, local, and tribal law enforcement.
Finally, the FBI has established Field Intelligence Groups in each FBI field office to ensure the execution of the intelligence program in FBI field divisions. The FIGs are the bridge that joins national intelligence with regional and local intelligence information through entities like the Joint Terrorism Task Forces.
The Drug Enforcement Administration, in partnership with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Program and the Regional Information Sharing Systems, is developing the National Virtual Pointer System that will allow federal, state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies access to pointer databases through a single point of entry.
Through NVPS, participating agencies will be able to determine if any other law enforcement entity is focused on the same investigative target-regardless of the crime. They will be linked to the agent or law enforcement officer who has information on the related case. Information will be transmitted over the National Law Enforcement Telecommunications System and RISSnet, the secure web-based communication system operated by a collaborative organization of state and local justice officials.
All components of the Department of Justice have adopted a common language for sharing information among differing computer systems, the Justice XML Data Dictionary. All federal grant programs to criminal justice agencies will also include a special condition calling for the use of this standard.
The Department of Justice, through the FBI, Office of Justice Programs and the Office of Community-Oriented Policing Services, is providing training and technical assistance to criminal justice policy leaders, law enforcement professionals, and information technology professionals in standards and policies to enable information sharing, improve the use of intelligence by law enforcement, and build systems that tie into the nation's existing information-sharing networks.
The Department of Justice is investing in research and development of new tools and methods to improve the use of intelligence in law enforcement. This work includes the continued development of XML standards, new analytical tools, security standards, and policing methods to improve the safety and effectiveness of police officers. In addition, through OJP and COPS, the Department is sponsoring pilot projects across the nation to improve the interoperability of information systems and show the impact of improved information sharing on fighting crime and terrorism.
Sources: Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Administration, National Institute of Justice, National Security Institute, National Association of Chiefs of Police
Jim Kouri, CPP is currently fifth vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. He's former chief at a New York City housing project in Washington Heights nicknamed "Crack City" by reporters covering the drug war in the 1980s. In addition, he served as director of public safety at a New Jersey university and director of security for a number of organizations. He's also served on the National Drug Task Force and trained police and security officers throughout the country. He writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others. He's appeared as on-air commentator for over 100 TV and radio news and talk shows including Oprah, McLaughlin Report, CNN Headline News, MTV, Fox News, etc. His book Assume The Position is available at Amazon.Com, Booksamillion.com, and can be ordered at local bookstores. Kouri holds a bachelor of science in criminal justice and master of arts in public administration and he's a board certified protection professional.