10-43: Be Advised...
with Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief
IACP 2010: Chief on benefits of CODY's data sharing and analysis tool
CODY Systems is a leader in the collection, analysis, and sharing of critical data for public safety, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies
Sharing information among in law enforcement can be a challenge. As has been previously reported in this space, police agencies are sometimes criticized for not sharing information internally, and due to the inherent striation of federal, state, and local agencies in different jurisdictions, communication between agencies is sometimes systemically precluded. But more and more, those challenges are being overcome by solutions ranging from the technological to the simple. This is true for both large and small departments, and surprisingly, some of those same solutions work no matter what the size of the department. One such solution is from CODY Systems, a leader in the collection, analysis, and sharing of critical data for public safety, law enforcement, and intelligence agencies.
PoliceOne recently connected with Chief Douglas Kish of the Catasauqua (Penn.) Police Department — who oversees a force of about a dozen sworn officers — to learn about how information sharing through the use of CODY Systems' offering has helped improve his agency’s ability to serve the community.
PoliceOne: Talk about a specific case or incident where information sharing has made a significant difference in apprehending the bad guys.
Chief Douglas Kish: Police work and closing cases relies heavily on the need to share information from officer to officer, agency to agency, county to county and so on and so forth. Catasauqua has been able to pull information from other departments to help solve various crimes with one another; I can’t pinpoint one actual scenario as we’re able to do this on a daily basis. Our investigators have made inquiries to other police departments and other information sources (Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center - PACIC) to gain additional information on suspects. Given a partial registration, it is much easier for an officer to check all partial registrations that departments have had contact with. That is why it is so important to input correct and complete information.
PoliceOne: What are some of the benefits the agency/department has seen since implementing this type of real-time data sharing technology?
Chief Kish: Benefits are the officers are able to query data from their vehicles and that data may have just been entered by another department. Previously, any information placed in our records management system, was not available to anyone until an approval process was completed. Now, as soon as you save the information, it is available. So an officer will know if a neighboring department just had contact with a person they are now having contact with.
PoliceOne: How did you get your personnel up to speed not only on the technology, but the philosophy, of real-time information sharing?
Chief Kish: Training and giving the officers a clear explanation of how the technology works and the benefits they will be getting on the street. You need to show the officer on the street that the idea of information sharing will make his or her job on the street safer and easier. You need a “buy-in” from the officer or your project will not grow to its full potential.
PoliceOne: Did your agency partner with another (or several others) in the acquisition of the solution?
Chief Kish: As president of the Lehigh County Chiefs of Police Association, we recognized the importance of information sharing. We saw that there were five different records management systems in Lehigh County and none were talking with each other. We were confined to our own departments. We, as the chiefs, asked for different vendors to present their systems to us and we evaluated them and selected CODY Records Management Systems as the best fit for the County. We presented our project to the Lehigh County Administration and they agreed to purchase our project for the entire county. All police departments in Lehigh County (with the exception of the City of Allentown) are now using the same records management system and sharing real time information.
Allentown had just purchased a different system and is not using CODY, but through CODY’s Expressbridge technology, which makes it possible for disparate databases to communicate, Allentown will be sharing information with the rest of the county in the future. Also, the District Attorney’s office, along with their Task Forces, and Central Booking will be integrated into the system. CODY and Lehigh County have been great partners in this project. We are now expanding outside of the county in our efforts to share data. The District Attorney’s office has also been aggressively working to open a Regional Crime Center.
PoliceOne: What was the most surprising thing you learned from your use of this technology so far?
Chief Kish: The possibilities are endless when it comes to data sharing. With the right technology, we can make it much safer for our officers on the street, while being able to exchange information with neighboring departments and different databases to take the bad buys off the streets.