David Kidd DC June 2010 Pic 2 David Kidd

Advances in information and communication technology (ICT) have created amazing opportunities for law enforcement professionals at local, state and federal levels to collect, categorize, cross-reference and share data and intelligence in a way that often results in a wealth of actionable knowledge. To take advantage of the opportunities these tools create, criminal justice agencies have formed multijurisdictional and regional relationships designed to combine, cross-match and share data from a wide variety of sources. Here are a few examples.

Colorado Jurisdictions Share COPLINK

As the law enforcement community samples various options for multijurisdictional data access system standards, it may want to examine usage of COPLINK software in Colorado. Agencies statewide find it a secure, low-maintenance fit for connecting disparate infrastructures, according to Mark Pray, IT director of Aurora, Colo. Participating agencies receive COPLINK as a Web application, which automatically transposes their data into its own code standards.

"Any new agency that wants to come onto this consortium - pays to have its data converted to COPLINK and then pay the cost-sharing agreement for the local node they'll attach to," Pray said.

Four counties serve as "nodes" for hosting the data of surrounding municipalities. For example, Aurora County hosts data for Denver and Colorado Springs. Those two cities contribute to the cost of hosting their data in Aurora County. As more agencies submit data to the Aurora County node, the cost for all involved will drop.

Pray said hosting COPLINK had a minimal impact his IT staff workload and the maintenance largely took care of itself. "I'll give you an example," Pray said. "COPLINK did an update to the system. We had staff onsite to monitor the work to make sure there nothing unplanned happened, and we just watched. They handle all of that remotely from their offices in Arizona. It's working really well."

Virginia Jurisdictions Swear By LInX

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Andy Opsahl  | 

Andy Opsahl is a former writer and features editor for Government Technology magazine.