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How LE agencies use intelligence-led policing to help cops catch criminals and prevent attacks

Gaps in information sharing led the DOJ to push for agencies to adopt intelligence-led policing. Here are a few examples of agencies that have deployed the strategy.


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By PoliceOne BrandFocus Staff

The 9/11 terrorist attacks and more recent San Bernardino attack reveal a gap in how intelligence is shared across law enforcement agencies in the United States. In response, the Department of Justice has pushed aggressively for intelligence-led policing throughout the country to improve how information is gathered, assessed and redistributed by law enforcement.

Intelligence-led policing helps San Antonio cops on the beat catch criminals. (San Antonio Police Dept.)
Intelligence-led policing helps San Antonio cops on the beat catch criminals. (San Antonio Police Dept.)

Intelligence-led policing is a collaborative enterprise based on improved intelligence operations and community-oriented policing. Here are a few examples of how some U.S. police agencies are using these strategies in their communities.

Carolina Beach, N.C. – Targeted Crime and Intelligence Focus

The Carolina Beach, N.C., Police Department adopted intelligence-led policing to reduce crime in their oceanside town. The department now uses crime analysis and criminal intelligence to direct police resources and decisions.

Specifically, the department focuses on crimes causing the most social harm to the community, such as burglaries, by collecting and compiling historical data, crime trends, victimization information and informant submissions.

This more efficient policing model will help them identify Type 1 crimes and offenders, according to the department. This includes identifying high-priority offenders living in Carolina Beach and those crimes involving the most victimization, such as breaking and entering into businesses, residential burglaries, residential vehicle breaking and entering, larcenies and narcotics.

New York State Intelligence Center – Regional Criminal Intelligence Collaboration

New York State is taking a regional approach to intelligence-led policing in order to better prepare the state’s law enforcement for major incidents.

The New York State Intelligence Center augments law enforcement operations by acting as a centralized, comprehensive intelligence fusion center, a large-scale operations center that produces and coordinates the statewide exchange of criminal intelligence. The fusion center lets field officers work with fusion center personnel to search databases for information as well as contribute information regarding suspicious activities or possible terrorist suspects.

Both sworn and civilian personnel with knowledge and expertise in a variety of designated areas of responsibility, known as investigative focus areas, are available to assist law enforcement agencies around the clock. These highly qualified professionals have access to a centrally located pool of investigative resources and provide law enforcement agents with 24-hour access to state, federal and private information databases. They also provide both analytical services and general case support.

Additionally, the NYSIC disseminates information and advance warnings to law enforcement agencies statewide regarding possible terrorist and other criminal incidents.

San Antonio Police Department – Local, State and Federal Intelligence Collaboration

To assist in promoting an intelligence-led policing strategy and increased collaboration among federal, state and local law enforcement, the San Antonio Police Department also developmed a fusion center, dubbed the Southwest Texas Fusion Center.

The SWTFC is recognized as a Level 2 fusion center by the State of Texas and the Department of Homeland Security. The center’s mission is to use the intelligence-led policing model to develop an all-threat and all-hazard approach to information and intelligence sharing. It is managed by the San Antonio Police Department.

Like the center in New York State, the SWTFC supports public safety collaboration throughout the region. This helps the San Antonio Police Department maximize the collection and intelligence sharing capacity within the region as well as capitalize on enhanced intelligence to improve its own criminal reduction efforts, according to the department.

Intelligence-led policing strategies are critical for today’s police departments to gain intelligence on criminals and illegal activity. CJIS-compliant software tools have been developed to organize, disseminate and collaborate on criminal intelligence in evidence-based manners. Managing intelligence-led policing strategies and collaborating with community partners enables more and more departments to combat crime and increase homeland security whether locally or through a statewide fusion center.

For more information about CJIS-compliant intelligence-led policing software tools, contact Adventos

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