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Ariz. establishes statewide information sharing for cops

AZLink lets agencies exchange and analyze information

By Lt. David Azuelo, Commander, City of Tucson Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security

AZlink, which employs CopLink interoperability software, was established to manage information sharing among law enforcement agencies in Arizona.

Participating federal, state and local agencies can exchange and analyze investigative data such as mug shots, warrants, driver’s licenses and stolen vehicles to help solve crimes.

Officers can access the system in the office or in the field via their patrol car computers or wireless devices such as PDAs or smartphones.

Established with funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, AZLink has been a collaborative effort to allow an integrated approach to law enforcement functions.

“Typically, information was kept in different silos,” says Lt. David Azuelo, Commander of the Tucson Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security.

“AZLink broke down those walls and allowed federal, state and municipal counties to share information bidirectionally.”

AZLink has four CopLink “nodes,” or hubs across the state, each with a lead agency: AZLink Southern (Tucson Police Department), AZLink Northern (Maricopa County Sheriff ’s Office), AZLink Eastern (Mesa Police Department), and AZLink Central (Phoenix Police Department). The system also connects with federal law enforcement databases through the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice.

By the end of the year, Azuelo expects 48 Arizona agencies to be contributing to the system. Expansion is expected to California, and agencies in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Oregon have also expressed interest in joining the coalition.

“We’ve really starting highlighting the program nationally,” Azuelo says. “I and other members of AZLink have done presentations across the country. What makes this so successful is it’s a grassroots collaboration of law enforcement agencies. We recognize that for officers to be more efficient and safer, we have to share information.

“We’ve grown beyond our own state’s boundaries. The entire southwestern U.S. is becoming an information sharing collaborative.”

For more information, contact Lt. David Azuelo at david.azuelo@ tucsonaz.gov or (520) 837-7378.

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