A refresher on Fusion Centers

Submitted by:
PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie


09/08/2009

We have it in our minds every single day, but this week we take an additional moment to remember the terrorist attacks of September 11th, 2001. As we do so, it’s a worthwhile endeavor to review some of the thinking behind the creation of Fusion Centers, where information can be freely shared among public safety agencies.

The Department of Justice (in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) defines a Fusion Center as a “collaborative effort of two or more agencies that provide resources, expertise, and information to the center with the goal of maximizing their ability to detect, prevent, investigate, and respond to criminal and terrorist activity.”

DOJ goes on to say that a fusion center is an effective and efficient mechanism to exchange information and intelligence, maximize resources, streamline operations, and improve the ability to fight crime and terrorism by analyzing data from a variety of sources.

DOJ articulates the need — and the challenge — for such facilities and processes. “The development and exchange of intelligence is not easy. Sharing this data requires not only strong leadership, it also requires the commitment, dedication, and trust of a diverse group of men and women who believe in the power of collaboration. How can law enforcement, public safety, and private entities embrace a collaborative process to improve intelligence sharing and, ultimately, increase the ability to detect, prevent, and solve crimes while safeguarding our homeland?”

When you go on shift to protect our streets (from enemies both foreign and domestic), we encourage you to bear in mind that the evolution of these Fusion Centers is constant. Changes are made to policies, processes, best practices, even as new technology is folded into the mix. “It goes beyond establishing an information/intelligence center or creating a computer network,” DOJ says.

Talk with your commanders about what’s new in your area. Ask your neighboring jurisdictions what they’ve been up to.

If you’re curious to learn more about Fusion Centers, this 2006 DOJ document remains an excellent resource.


Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. In addition to his editorial and managerial responsibilities, Doug has authored more than 750 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community.

On a daily basis, Doug is in close personal contact with some of the top subject-matter experts in law enforcement, regularly tapping into the world-class knowledge of officers and trainers from around the United States, and working to help spread that information and insight to the hundreds of thousands of officers who visit PoliceOne every month.

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), and an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association. He is also a member of the Public Safety Writers Association, and is a three-time (2011, 2012, and 2014) Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" Finalist in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column.

Even in his "spare" time, he is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

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