By Heather Ruzbasan Cotter, Senior Program Manager, IACP Technology Center, Alexandria, Virginia
he IACP recently restructured its Technology Center to create a “one-stop shop” for technology services and programs for the law enforcement community. With the expansion of the Technology Center, agency officials can get answers to the questions they have on a variety of technology issues, including information sharing, technical standards, in-car cameras, digital video evidence, computer-aided dispatch systems, and records management systems, as well as national technology initiatives such as the National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) and the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Data Exchange (N-DEx) program. The IACP Technology Center offers an array of services, programs, and resources to law enforcement agencies. This column highlights the working groups and initiatives in which the IACP Technology Center is currently involved.
Committees and Sections
Technology Coordination Panel: The IACP Technology Coordination Panel (TCP), comprising the leadership of each technology committee and/or section of the IACP, serves as an umbrella coordinating body to senior IACP leadership. The work of this group results in the clarification of emerging technology issues and the distribution of problem-solving assignments to other committees and sections. TCP oversight is the responsibility of an IACP Executive Board member.
Communications and Technology Committee: The IACP Communications and Technology Committee seeks to set guidelines for wireless communication, radio spectrum frequency allocation, and data encryption. Members of this committee address all aspects of the communications infrastructure.
Criminal Justice Information System Committee: The mandate of the IACP Criminal Justice Information System Committee is to support the development of interoperable criminal justice information systems and to ensure their capacity to share data. A particular focus of the committee is integrating superior and subordinate information systems to facilitate information exchange.
Law Enforcement Information Management Section: The IACP Law Enforcement Information Management (LEIM) Section is composed of over 1,000 information technology (IT) professionals in the law enforcement field. Its members include IT professionals and law enforcement agencies of all sizes. This section provides a forum for law enforcement executives and technology specialists to exchange information on initiatives and trends, with a focus on computer and information management technologies. The LEIM Section hosts a national annual conference with exhibitions and also provides training and outreach internationally. The next conference is scheduled for May 18–21, 2009, in Dallas, Texas.
Automatic License Plate Reader Systems: Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, the Automatic License Plate Reader (ALPR) Systems: Policy and Operational Guidance for Law Enforcement project employs a structured and multidimensional groundwork approach to identify and consolidate lessons learned from agencies on ALPR technology. The IACP will work directly in partnership with agencies involved in successful ALPR system implementations. These leading practices will be analyzed and presented to optimize opportunities for replication and customization across law enforcement agencies. The fundamental goals of this project are to articulate, document, and disseminate the real-world ALPR implementation challenges and successes faced by law enforcement agencies and to identify and disseminate successful ALPR initiatives from the perspective of lessons learned.
Information Sharing and Technology Needs of State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement: Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. federal government has bolstered efforts to promote and fund various data-sharing initiatives to enhance the ability of law enforcement agencies across the United States to work across administrative and geographic boundaries to prevent terrorism and fight crime. With funding from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the IACP will convene three advisory group meetings with leading practitioners in the areas of information technology and information sharing, representing state, local, and tribal agencies. The IACP is working in partnership with the DHS’s Directorate of Science and Technology (S&T) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to fulfill four key objectives:
- Identify and review information-sharing programs implemented by state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies
- Offer peer review of programs from an operational perspective
- Identify programs of merit with clear and demonstrated success in information sharing
- Help identify research portfolio gaps to be addressed by S&T
The overarching objective of the project is to present a bottom-up perspective of data sharing that can complement and advance the federal initiatives now being implemented. Underscoring the nexus between homeland and hometown security, the project will result in a final report that summarizes the activities of the advisory group and sets the foundation for continued efforts to improve the ability of local law enforcement agencies to share data with their counterparts at the local, state, and federal levels.
Geographic Information System Initiative: Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), the IACP is providing technical assistance and programmatic support for a dynamic geographic information system that assists law enforcement and other juvenile justice practitioners assess juvenile risk factors; juvenile crime; and resources for education, prevention, intervention, and enforcement efforts centered on youth.
Technology Technical Assistance Program: With support from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), the Technology Technical Assistance Program (TTAP) promotes effective technology management by providing training, products, and resources to help law enforcement executives identify departmental needs and effectively select, implement, and evaluate technology.
Technology Clearinghouse: The IACP Technology Clearinghouse, funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Intelligent Transportation Systems Joint Program Office (ITS JPO), maintains a comprehensive Web-based library of resources, providing executives and technologists with contemporary information on leading law enforcement information technology projects.
Law Enforcement Information Technology Standards Council
Funded by the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance and with the IACP Technology Center acting as the coordinating body, the Law Enforcement Information Technology Standards Council (LEITSC) comprises representatives from four of the leading U.S. law enforcement associations, specifically, the IACP, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives, the National Sheriffs’ Association, and the Police Executive Research Forum. Together, members of these associations represent the law enforcement community on issues concerning information technology standards.
IACP-iXP Excellence in Technology Awards
Coordinated by the IACP Technology Center, the IACP-iXP Excellence in Technology Awards Program recognizes law enforcement agencies’ superior achievement and innovation in the fields of communication and information technology. This program is an international competition that is open to local, tribal, state, provincial, federal, and multijurisdictional law enforcement agencies.
Technology Talk Column
The Technology Talk column runs monthly in the Police Chief, the official publication of the IACP. Columns highlight cutting-edge law enforcement technology issues, solutions, initiatives, and projects. Based on pieces submitted by law enforcement IT professionals, these short pieces provide yet another means for the communication and exchange of information within the law enforcement IT community.
Law enforcement technology is constantly evolving, and it is imperative to address policy issues on emerging technologies and to provide IACP members with the knowledge and information necessary to help them serve their communities. The IACP Technology Center offers a variety of programs and services for the association’s membership to leverage and apply in their respective agencies.
For more information about the IACP Technology Center, readers can contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org. ■