Information sharing for law enforcement has significantly expanded across all levels of government in recent years. The use of dedicated law enforcement technology, coupled with strategic information-sharing practices, has improved law enforcement’s ability to detect, prevent and respond to crimes and emergencies.
Law enforcement agencies are facing increased demand for sophisticated information technology (IT) capabilities to support their growing operations. Many of these capabilities depend on records management systems (RMSs), which are used to maintain case histories, as well as computer-aided dispatch (CAD) systems, which are used to maintain calls for service and call response histories.
While much progress has been made in law enforcement information sharing at federal, state and regional levels, there is still room for improvement. Consider implementing new strategies and innovative technologies to help improve information sharing across law enforcement agencies and departments.
Importance Of Information Sharing In Law Enforcement
Law enforcement officials rely heavily on available information to perform their day-to-day tasks. Police require real-time information when performing traffic stops to validate identification and check vehicle records. Detectives use available information to ID suspects and locate stolen property and crime analysts depend on law enforcement data to identify crime trends to reduce the risk of further occurrences.
Today, many agencies are changing the way they approach information management. Keeping data internally can prove problematic as criminals move to neighboring cities or states. To help deter crime across the United States, modern law enforcement agencies must share information among departments and agencies across every city and state.
Criminals are not confined by geographical boundaries; therefore, law enforcement officials must make information available across all levels of government. Quality information-sharing strategies can help improve crime prevention, solve complex cases and improve response times. Information sharing can ultimately save law enforcement agencies a significant amount of time and money.
Barriers That Impact Information Sharing Capabilities
While much progress has been made in the field of information sharing, many barriers remain. Law enforcement information sharing architecture is still fairly complex and few interfaces are covered by standards. Standards that do exist often overlap or have conflicting information. There is also the issue of safety; while federal policies do exist relating to information assurance, it remains difficult to provide adequate security.
Commercial providers have shared many challenges that they have encountered in regard to information sharing in law enforcement. This includes issues with gathering clear requirements from clients due to inaccuracies, excessive customization requests and broad specifications to “share all information” regardless of usefulness. Business models and incentives for commercial providers have also proven problematic.
Ways That Law Enforcement Can Improve Information Sharing
Technology has advanced dramatically over the last decade bringing the law enforcement industry more options than ever before to improve information sharing. By increasing information sharing internally and externally, law enforcement agencies can improve productivity and fulfill their duty to keep their communities safe.
Here are some of the top ways that law enforcement can improve their information-sharing efforts:
1. Define A Communication “Stack”
Every organization should have an established technology “stack” that includes the various products and software used to meet a specified goal. Use the same method for information sharing to ensure that the agency has multiple means of communication and collaboration. There are many ways that law enforcement can communicate online, such as through instant messaging and email. There are also ways to communicate offline, such as routine team meetings and annual company retreats.
2. Educate And Train Employees
There is a serious threat of data breaches and other cyber concerns in the law enforcement industry. Employees often have access to confidential information, such as suspect background information, arrest histories and other data used in cases and investigations. Law enforcement officers and other staff should be educated, trained and routinely briefed about how to properly and securely share information both inside and outside of the department.
3. Invest In Law Enforcement Software
One of the best ways to improve information sharing in law enforcement is to invest in quality law enforcement software. High-level software solutions can help optimize law enforcement processes and streamline workflows to enhance performance and protect sensitive information.
Law enforcement software often consists of information exchange systems that provide fast, secure and comprehensive access to data and analytics tools that police and other law enforcement officials can use to their advantage.
Schedule A Consultation With The Experts At CPI OpenFox
CPI OpenFox offers a comprehensive suite of law enforcement software solutions made of enterprise-grade programs. These innovative systems are fully encrypted and scalable to protect sensitive information.
The OpenFox product suite includes a wide range of features and plug-and-play digital tools to enhance the department’s ability to store data, share information and provide intelligence services. Schedule a consultation with the experts at CPI OpenFox today to learn more about this product suite, or to get your organization started.