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Improving Criminal Intelligence Sharing: How the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council Supports Law Enforcement and Homeland Security

By Ronald E. Brooks, Director, Northern California Regional Intelligence Center; and Chair, Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council

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he phrase “homeland security is hometown security” is just as relevant today as it was in the year following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. And what has become increasingly evident is that hometown security means coordination by law enforcement agencies, justice agencies, and homeland security partners at the local, state, tribal, and federal levels. With so many stakeholders, a national body is vital to coordinate the numerous issues that arise when identifying methods and initiatives to protect the hometown and the homeland. To meet this need, the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (CICC), a group under the U.S. Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative (Global), was established in 2004 to serve as the central point of collaboration among local, state, and tribal agencies and organizations. The CICC

  • assists the DOJ in ensuring that every chief, sheriff, and law enforcement executive understands the individual agency’s role in developing and sharing information and intelligence;
  • provides input to the federal government in its efforts to develop and share criminal intelligence;
  • recommends a framework and resources needed for implementing and ensuring the longevity of a standards-based intelligence plan, training and technology coordination, outreach and education, and resource coordination; and
  • advises the U.S. attorney general, through Global, on the best use of criminal intelligence to keep the nation safe.

The overarching theme that transcends these roles and responsibilities is coordination, the cornerstone of the CICC.


The creation of the CICC was the top priority of the National Criminal Intelligence Sharing Plan (NCISP),1 the blueprint for law enforcement and homeland security agencies on improving the ability to develop and share criminal intelligence. The concept of a national intelligence sharing plan and a coordinating body to implement the plan was first discussed during the 2002 IACP Criminal Intelligence Sharing Summit. The result of this discussion was the development and national release of the NCISP in 2004.

The NCISP contains 28 recommendations and action items that provide a foundation to assist agencies in establishing criminal intelligence sharing policies, procedures, standards, technologies, and training, thereby improving the nation’s ability to develop and share criminal intelligence. The oversight mechanism identified in the NCISP was the creation of the CICC.

As such, the CICC was formally established in May 2004. The CICC is composed of representatives of the nation’s major law enforcement and homeland security organizations and associations. The council provides law enforcement and homeland security agencies with the opportunity to have their criminal intelligence–related concerns heard and addressed. This ground-up approach empowers law enforcement and strengthens U.S. homeland security. Since the inception of the CICC, the IACP has been one of the key organizations involved, with representatives including Chief William Berger, Palm Bay, Florida, Police Department; Chief Joseph Polisar, Garden Grove, California, Police Department; Chief Craig Steckler, Fremont, California, Police Department; and the current IACP President, Chief Mark Marshall, Smithfield, Virginia, Police Department.

Purpose and Responsibilities

The CICC was initially established to provide long-term oversight and assistance with the implementation and refinement of the NCISP and its recommendations. The NCISP identified the responsibilities of the CICC, which includes advising Congress, the U.S. attorney general, and the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on the best use of criminal intelligence to keep the United States safe. Additional responsibilities include developing minimum standards for intelligence analysts to ensure that intelligence products are accurate, timely, factual, and relevant; recommending the implementation of policy and/or action(s), in partnership with the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts; and identifying analytical products recommended for use by law enforcement agencies to maximize resources for officers performing intelligence functions, as well as a resource list of current users of those products.

Since the release of the NCISP, the role of the CICC has evolved into more than just the oversight mechanism for the NCISP. The CICC has emerged to serve as the central point for coordination of criminal intelligence–related policies, resources, and initiatives among local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement and homeland security partners. The CICC accomplishes this task as a group under the Global Advisory Committee, which advises the U.S. attorney general on matters related to information and intelligence sharing.

The CICC collaborates with numerous federal partners, including the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the program manager for the Information Sharing Environment, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to coordinate national initiatives focused on intelligence sharing and strengthening homeland security efforts. The advice and recommendations of the CICC and its membership have also been sought by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, members of Congress, and representatives of state government.

Homeland Security and Fusion Centers

The CICC is in a unique position for developing resources and products to improve the sharing of criminal intelligence. Intelligence sharing needs are identified at the grassroots level; suggestions and recommendations are made by CICC members who see a need within their organization or association. Resources and products to meet these needs are then developed by state, local, and tribal representatives, thereby creating a sense of ownership among all law enforcement and homeland security agencies. An example of this process can be seen in fusion centers.

Fusion centers have emerged as a top priority for nationwide intelligence sharing and homeland security efforts. Fusion centers are effective and efficient mechanisms to exchange information and intelligence, maximize resources, streamline operations, and improve the ability to fight crime by analyzing data from a variety of sources. A key role of the fusion center is involvement in homeland security efforts, including receiving classified and unclassified information from federal partners; assessing local implications of threat information; disseminating threat information to other state, local, tribal, territorial, and private sector entities within the fusion center’s jurisdiction; and gathering locally generated information, which is aggregated, analyzed, and shared with federal partners, as appropriate.

The CICC was pivotal in the standardization of the development and operation of fusion centers through the 2005 release of the Fusion Center Guidelines.2 These guidelines provide agencies with recommendations for establishing a fusion center; identifying partners to be involved in the fusion process; and integrating the roles of privacy, security, and training into fusion center operations.

As the role of the fusion center was institutionalized in national law enforcement and homeland security information sharing efforts, the CICC released the Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers.3 The goal of these capabilities is to ensure continuity among all fusion centers, thereby creating a common baseline standard of operation. The CICC is also a partner in the Department of Homeland Security/DOJ Fusion Process Technical Assistance Program. This program is designed to provide training and technical assistance to fusion centers as they enhance their operations and become integrated into the national fusion center initiative. A representative from the National Fusion Center Association also serves on the CICC, thereby ensuring continued coordination among national fusion center leadership and local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies.

Additional Accomplishments

Over the last six years, the CICC has emerged as the body of local, state, and tribal law enforcement agencies and organizations, as well as federal partners, to coordinate and collaborate in all matters regarding the development and sharing of criminal intelligence information. The result of this coordination and partnership has been the creation of a library of resources and other assets, all designed with the purpose of protecting the homeland and hometown. These product resources are designed to implement the purpose of the CICC in improving the development and sharing of criminal intelligence among all levels of law enforcement and homeland security agencies. Some recent CICC resources include the following:

  • Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Compliance Verification for the Intelligence Enterprise, which assists law enforcement agencies and fusion centers in complying with applicable privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protection laws,regulations, and policies while sharing intelligence and information
  • The Importance of Privacy, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties Protections in American Law Enforcement and Public Safety training video, which provides an introductory overview of what privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties protections are; examples of these protections; and the important function line officers have in upholding these protections
  • Navigating Your Agency’s Path to Intelligence-Led Policing, which serves as an overview for implementing the intelligence-led policing (ILP) framework within a law enforcement agency and provides insight regarding the challenges of ILP implementation
  • In collaboration with the Major Cities Chiefs Association, the report Findings and Recommendations of the Suspicious Activity Report (SAR) Support and Implementation Project, which contains guidelines for cities and states on improving the gathering, documenting, processing, and sharing of suspicious activity that may be indicative of terrorist-related incidents among cities, fusion centers, and the information sharing environment
  • Guidelines for Establishing and Operating Gang Intelligence Units and Task Forces, which provides guidance to agencies seeking to establish and operate a gang task force or gang intelligence unit within their jurisdictions or to agencies that already participate in one

Current Efforts

The pursuit of effective and efficient nationwide criminal intelligence and information sharing is an ongoing endeavor. The members of the CICC are involved in a number of initiatives to continue to improve these efforts, including the following:

  • Participation on the State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector (SLTPS) Policy Advisory Committee, part of Executive Order 13549, “Classified National Security Information Program for State, Local, Tribal, and Private Sector Entities,” which will discuss program-related policy issues in dispute to facilitate their resolution and to otherwise recommend changes to policies and procedures that are designed to remove undue impediments to the sharing of information
  • Participation in the national implementation of the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative
  • Development of training curriculum regarding the implementation of tenets of intelligence-led policing
  • Collaboration with federal partners to assist in the continued development of a national, integrated network of fusion centers
  • Development of a guide regarding the utilization of law enforcement personnel during First Amendment–protected activities and the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties implications

The CICC’s goal for these initiatives is to improve law enforcement and homeland security’s ability to develop criminal intelligence information and share it in a way that assists law enforcement and homeland security agencies in their efforts to protect the homeland and the hometown and also protects the privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties of the community.

The Future

The continued implementation of the NCISP, as valid today as it was in 2004, is a huge responsibility that closely binds the CICC to homeland security efforts. The coordination the CICC strives for has far-reaching effects, the most significant being the continued active involvement of local, state, and tribal law enforcement and homeland security agencies in nationwide criminal intelligence sharing efforts. It is only through the institutionalization of coordination and collaboration among all agencies—regardless of size and jurisdiction—that we can effectively and efficiently develop and share criminal intelligence, resulting in a safer nation.

Additional information on the CICC, Global, and its initiatives and resources can be found at ■


1Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, The National Criminal IntelligenceSharing Plan (U.S. Department of Justice, October 2003), (accessed December 20, 2010).
2Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, Fusion Center Guidelines: Developing and Sharing Information and Intelligence in a New Era (U.S. Department of Justice, August 2006), (accessed December 20, 2010).
3Global Justice Information Sharing Initiative, Baseline Capabilities for State and Major Urban Area Fusion Centers (U.S. Department of Justice, September 2008), (accessed December 20, 2010).

Please cite as:

Ronald E. Brooks, "Improving Criminal Intelligence Sharing: How the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council Supports Law Enforcement and Homeland Security," The Police Chief 78 (February 2011): 34–38.



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXVIII, no. 2, February 2011. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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