Where do the good ideas come from? In this column, we offer our readers the opportunity to learn about — and benefit from — some of the cutting-edge technologies being implemented by law enforcement colleagues around the world.
Thinkstream’s Implementation of Integrated Criminal Justice System Fuels Louisiana Company’s Nationwide Outlook
After eight years of implementation, refinement, and expansion, Thinkstream is prepared to take the patented technology platform that enables the Louisiana Civil and Criminal Information Exchange (LACCIE) nationwide.
What began in 2002 as a small informationintegration project for a handful of agencies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is already the largest integrated criminal justice information system in the nation, connecting 450 agencies in real time to 700 distinct criminal justice databases and involving more than 13,000 users.
LACCIE provides seamless access to critical information of all types at the local, state, and federal levels while connecting police departments, sheriffs’ offices, state police, district attorneys, clerks of court, judicial courts, corrections, and other justice entities in every corner of the state. From a mature set of LACCIEconnected applications, both in the field and in the office, personnel have real-time, integrated access to virtually every law enforcement database in Louisiana. The types of information systems connected by LACCIE are just as diverse, including RMS, JMS, CMS, CAD, AFIS, mug-shot databases, DMV photos, and the vehicle insurance registry.
As a result of this integration, Louisiana’s justice agencies have access to the tools they need to locate outstanding local warrants, bring fugitives to justice, provide prosecutors and judges in the courtroom with comprehensive record and rap sheets in real time, and equip officers on the streets with up-to-the-moment information drawn from disparate data sources around the country.
A major hurdle was cleared in 2002 when Thinkstream secured the participation of the Louisiana State Police and the FBI, making hundreds of state and federal criminal justice databases available and instantly extending the reach of local law enforcement across the entire nation.
Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, Sheriff Ricky Edwards said the promise of the system has been fully realized. “Our overriding goal was to put as much information as quickly as we could in the hands of deputies on the street so they could be better informed before approaching possible criminals,” he said. “Thinkstream has given us that and much more.”
“The system has been everything they said it would be, and then some,” said Sheriff’s Detective Tom Myrick of Bossier Parish, Louisiana. “Officers are able to verify information on a suspect more quickly, which in turn means they’re able to solve more crimes and expedite arrests more efficiently. We’re very pleased.”
For more information, visit www.thinkstream.com.
Bellevue University Keeps Law Enforcement Professionals Current with Degree Program Offerings
The events of 9/11 and other terrorist threats to the United States have caused law enforcement agencies around the nation to look for resources to keep their best and brightest educated on how to identify and deal with these threats. Some are turning to the learning programs offered by Bellevue University, an accredited university that offers a security management degree program, among other programs of study. University faculty with real-world experience apply what they know to developing courses that reflect what is current and relevant in the field today; these courses include Fundamentals of Homeland Security, Threats of Terrorism, Principles and Practices of Effective Emergency Planning, Cyber-Security, Information Protection, Vulnerability Assessment and Risk Analysis.
Courses are offered 100 percent online for optimum convenience for working adults, and the program—as well as the students in it—gain high visibility among the nation’s top agencies. Students have been asked to present at the Annual ASIS Seminar and Exhibits and at the National Homeland Security Conference. Four graduates were selected to serve as civilian interns in the Department of Defense Air Force Palace Acquire program.
Recently, the university introduced International Security and Intelligence Studies bachelors’ and masters’ degrees. Course topics include a general introduction to national security, intelligence and counterintelligence, strategic thought, geostrategy, security concepts in science and technology, risk analysis, and security surveys—all areas that police departments value and need today more than ever.
“I understand firsthand the pressure police departments and law enforcement agencies are under to absorb local homeland security and emergency management responsibilities,” said Michael Lewis, chief of police (retired), Faribault, Minnesota, Police Department. “That’s why I appreciate the real-world curriculum that Bellevue University builds into its degree programs. As we increase our knowledge of how to keep our nation safe, we increase the credibility and value of our work as officers.”
For more information, visit www.bellevue.edu.
Taser Headcam Records a Cop’s-Eye View
Each day that San Jose, California, police officer William Pender goes to work, he straps on his badge, his gun, his radio, and his Taser. He then attaches a small video camera to his left ear.
The camera is part of a test program. Throughout Pender’s shift, it records whatever is in front of him. With the push of a button, he can save the video and audio of his interactions with citizens, suspects, and fellow officers.
“It’s actually really cool,” Pender said. “You can look from my point of view. What I see, the camera sees.”
Pender, a 15-year veteran of the department, is one of eighteen San Jose police officers participating in a pilot program to test the head cameras. Called the Taser Axon, the camera is made by Taser International, which also makes Taser electroshock guns.
“I think it’s a tremendous piece of technology,” Pender said. “Everyone has been using cameras against us for so long. It’s nice to have our point of view instead of someone’s blurry phone picture that doesn’t tell the whole story.”
The headcam, slightly larger than a Bluetooth phone, comes with a detached display screen and a microphone. The camera is mounted on a band that wraps around the back of the officer’s head. At the end of a shift, the officer downloads the day’s recordings onto a secure website but does not have access to edit them.
“Overall, the product has worked exceptionally well,” said Sergeant Ronnie Lopez, a spokesman for the San Jose Police Department. “You know what they say: A picture is worth a thousand words. It has really allowed us to document what we do.”
The Axon headcam proved its value to one officer last November in Fort Smith, Arkansas—another city where the device is being tested. Officer Brandon Davis was wearing a headcam when he responded to a 9-1-1 domestic violence call and fatally shot an armed man. The recording of the incident helped lead to Davis’s quick exoneration.
For more information, visit www.taser.com.
Corsicana, Texas, Police Department Selects New World Systems’ Integrated Public Safety Solution
The Corsicana, Texas, Police Department has signed a contract to license New World Systems’ Aegis/MSP Public Safety Solution on the Microsoft platform to improve efficiency and first-responder safety and service to the community. New World’s software replaces an old, disparate system that no longer meets the police department’s needs. It was selected as a single, fully integrated solution to streamline operations, provide more access to missioncritical information for first responders and the fire department, and help the police department to do more with less.
To find a new solution, officials assembled a team of representatives from every area of the police, information technology, and fire departments to research and evaluate available software. They were looking for a solution built on current technology that would ease reporting, improve fire response, and grow with the city’s needs in the future. The selection team found that New World Systems offered the technology, the integrated solution, and the expertise they sought.
“The selection team was made up of a cross section of system users throughout the department,” said Corsicana Police Chief Randy Bratton. “We needed a solution that would integrate our entire department. However, everyone involved represented their own interests and requirements for the new software. In the end, one vendor best met our requirements. Selecting New World Systems as our preferred vendor was a unanimous decision for our team.”
New World Systems provides the Corsicana Police Department with Aegis/MSP computer-aided dispatch (CAD), records management, mobile computing, and field-based reporting software developed in-house using Microsoft technology, industry-standard Windows server, and SQL server. The integrated applications and advanced built-in workflow increase efficiency and improve data analysis for officers, dispatchers, and command staff by eliminating redundant data entry and ensuring all information entered into one area of the system is available throughout the police department. New World System’s CAD software also helps to save time during emergencies and improves the fire department’s response to the community with built-in recommendations and more access to information for analysis.
“A technology selection of this nature is one of the most critical and time-consuming purchases a police department can make,” said Chief Bratton. “New World’s positive and professional staff is helping with the transition greatly.” ■
For more information, visit www.newworldsystems.com.