Alaska Law Enforcement Group Deploys Data Network

New coalition aims to model for law enforcement information sharing.

by / November 6, 2003
ANCHORAGE, Alaska -- Two of the biggest barriers to solving crimes -- timely information sharing and qualified lead generation -- will be reduced in Alaska through the formation of ALEISS, the Alaska Law Enforcement Information Sharing System. ALEISS is a newly formed consortium of Alaska law enforcement agencies that will utilize COPLINK -- a system for collecting, consolidating and sharing information across jurisdictions to help solve crimes.

"Improving community safety for our citizens and providing law enforcement with tools that help keep more public-safety officers on the streets to solve crime is a top priority in Alaska," said Gov. Frank Murkowski. "ALEISS is a powerful, responsible and cost-effective model for how our nation can allocate resources to help protect our communities."

Funding for the first phase of the initiative will be provided by a federal grant administered by Alaska and the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center -- Northwest (NLECTC-NW). NLECTC-NW is a program of the National Institute of Justice, a unit of the U.S. Department of Justice. Participating agencies include the Homer Police Department; Seward Police Department; Soldotna Police Department; Juneau Police Department; Anchorage Police Department; Kenai Police Department; Alaska Department of Public Safety and the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center Northwest (NLECTC-NW) in Anchorage. Unique to this initiative is an unprecedented effort by ALEISS member agencies to establish clear protocols for use of the system prior to entering into the agreement.

COPLINK provides analysis and decision support for rapidly identifying criminal suspects, relationships and patterns that can help solve and prevent crime. The system from Knowledge Computing Corp. is also promising for use in prevention of domestic terrorism.

The system allows vast quantities of structured and seemingly unrelated data, currently housed in incompatible computer-based record management systems (RMS), to be organized under a single, highly secure intranet-based platform. One search using known facts from an ongoing criminal investigation can produce qualified leads in minutes -- a process that previously often took days or weeks.

When the system is used to create information sharing networks like ALEISS, each participating agency controls what data is shared, with whom and when. This safeguard helps protects sensitive information while allowing for the creation of ad hoc regional task forces to address specific criminal activity.

The system will be used for law enforcement purposes only, utilizing public data from existing law enforcement databases such as arrest records and traffic citations. The first phase calls for migrating one RMS database from each participating police department. Three additional phases will be implemented as additional funding becomes available.

Only ALEISS consortium employees that have been subject to background screening will be allowed access to the system. Background screenings will be fingerprint-based including checks of both the state and national criminal history repositories. If a felony conviction of any kind is found, access to the system shall not be granted.

In addition, COPLINK creates a detailed audit trail for every search conducted. This serves two purposes. Officers seeking to question or obtain a warrant on suspects identified through the system are able to clearly demonstrate with hard facts how that person fits the criminal profile and how others were excluded. The system administrator can also monitor use for audit purposes to identify any abuse that would result in suspension of a user's access privileges under the terms established by the ALEISS consortium.

Designed by former law enforcement officials, COPLINK is tactically sophisticated yet user-friendly. Even the most non-technical law enforcement officials can master it in less than a day. By the end of 2003, COPLINK will be deployed in nearly 30 distinct locations nationwide. The solution was most recently brought online in Northeast Kansas to support over 1000 police officers in fighting crime and improving community safety.
Miriam Jones Chief Copy Editor
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