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Ref: Missouri law enforcement agencies to use information-sharing technology

Congressional Quarterly

Missouri Law Enforcement Agencies Linking Up
By Daniel Fowler, CQ Staff
Local and state law enforcement agencies in Missouri have decided to pool together federal money to fund a statewide information-sharing initiative that will be in place by summer.
Missouri will use Tucson, Ariz.-based Knowledge Computing Corp.’s information-sharing software suite COPLINK, which is already used or being implemented in Alaska and Florida, as well as cities including Los Angeles and Chicago. (See HYPERLINK "" t "_blank" related story, Dec. 19, 2007)
“It shows the importance of this project when you have local agencies making this type of decision to utilize this funding for this type of effort,” said Van Godsey, director of the Missouri Information Analysis Center.
Instead of using their portion of the money for regional initiatives or for individual law enforcement agencies, the local agencies decided to devote the money to the Missouri Data Exchange project, he said.
“Money to benefit all of those local agencies now is going to be utilized truly to benefit the entire state, including all of the local agencies,” Godsey said.
The initial value of the statewide software license is more than $1.1 million and there will be follow-on fees and services as Missouri determines how many data sources it wants to integrate into the system, the company said. Missouri is also contributing some additional resources of its own.
Godsey said COPLINK will enable law enforcement agencies and the state fusion center to more effectively share information that is now communicated through such means as phone calls and paper documents, when it’s shared at all.
“We are talking about the golden nuggets of information,” Godsey said. Those include traffic tickets, field interview reports and accident reports.
“You could look at potential situations, both terrorism and law enforcement situations, where that would be immensely helpful,” Godsey said.
COPLINK takes seemingly unrelated information and makes connections and finds potential suspects and starting points in investigations, according to Knowledge Computing Corp.’s president and chief executive officer Robert Griffin.
It allows data housed in “incompatible databases and records management systems to be securely organized, consolidated and rapidly analyzed over a highly secure intranet-based platform,” the company said.
“There is no way that you can have true security unless you have exchange of information,” Griffin said.
More than 500 law enforcement agencies around the state will have access to COPLINK.
Once COPLINK is fully deployed, it will tie into the FBI’s Regional Data Exchange System.
“The next Mohamed Atta is not going to be found standing in line at a federal checkpoint,” Griffin said. “He is going to be stopped for speeding somewhere . . . or he is going to potentially be committing a crime to fund his activities locally or involved with people that are committing crimes to fund activities locally and so forth. Being able to take that information and make that available at the federal level is going to be hugely important.”

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