Webinar presenters David Shipley and Catherine Miller answered a number of your questions after their presentation, Don’t Do Data Sharing Alone and Don’t Do It Half Way. Here are just a few of their responses.
Audience Question: What process should we be using to get our leaders on board with sharing data with other agencies, especially when they’re kind of struggling with the idea of getting on board with this notion?
David “Ship” Shipley: We’ve been sharing data for decades to centuries. But we do it cop to cop, officer to the officer on the line. And that’s become a cumbersome process. We learn and build relationships from the ground up at that level. I don’t see any reason why, as we proceed through our agencies. I went from dispatcher to commander before I retired, and I have agency representatives all across the state that I connected with when I was new in law enforcement and we’re doing base investigations out on the street. Use that concept to lead up in your organization suggests that the time has come for us to talk to those contacts and say now maybe we can take our agencies and share data and find the same success we’ve enjoyed on a very small scale on the line.
Catherine A. Miller: And I’d just like to add that sometimes it takes some creativity. Such as if there is an individual that’s on a task force from an agency that you’re wanting to bring in or one individual in the agency wants to come on board, but his or her chief may not be into it right now, or not quite sure. That individual is part of a task force. And can be given access, and go through the proper training, to kind of get an idea of how it works, the data that’s out there. That’s a great opportunity to actually bring a little bit of a touch of an internet agency so that they can see. Wow! Yeah, this is really good to share this data. This is helping my officers. I can tell you, I’ve gone for many years, when we first started with LInX it was mostly the investigators and the crime analysts, not the officers out on the street who had it. And I will tell you that it’s just as important to have the officers on the street have access to that data, as you saw in a couple of the success stories I mentioned. But I will mention one additional success story. Now, this is a detailed one, this was just something that personally happened to me, I was at my daughter’s dance studio, one afternoon, I was getting ready to leave, I was like, I don’t know, 6, 7 PM, but it was still light outside. And an officer just flew into the parking lot and pulled right up beside me. He says, “Ma’am, are you part of the NCR LInX Program?” Well, my license plate happens to say, NCR LInX on it. And I said, “Yes, sir. I’m the program manager in charge of it”. He says, “Ma’am. I just got access to this, and it is the best source of information I have ever seen. Thank you for what you’re doing”. And off he drove. It made my day. He was a young officer, didn’t even know him, and just out of the blue that happened, I’m like, “Okay, this, you know, I’m in the right place doing the right job”.
Audience Question: So, as we’re working towards getting our agencies on board, what are some of the biggest objections, then we should be anticipating so we know how to anticipate those objections and overcome them before they even become an issue?
Catherine A. Miller: Well, I talked quite a bit about the initial objections I saw firsthand, which was the juvenile data. Having the champions is extremely important, especially at the chief level, the sheriff level. I mean it literally did take some doing and including clarification of one of our Virginia laws, between a capital S and a small lowercase S, whether agencies could share, they’re juvenile data across state lines. Having those champions is hugely important. Looking for some of that right now when it comes to sharing some data sometimes on CAD data. Some people are really concerned about sharing their computer-aided dispatch calls because some calls have in their other pieces of information or other call types. Being able to sit down with them, understanding what their concerns are, and then being able to show them, “Hey, you know, we can weed out, we can filter out those that you are concerned about”. Once you’re able to sit down and understand what their issue is or what they’re concerned about, then you can kind of talk them through or show them firsthand. That some of the data, we don’t have to take all the data, we can filter out some. There are some high-profile cases that occur across the country. And especially in my region. Having that ability to filter out, those are not shared immediately while they’re being investigated, but then being able to share them on being able to show our agencies that, yes, we are built to be able to do that type of thing.
David “Ship” Shipley: From my perspective, I think I run into this every day. Obviously, the cost is an issue. There are a number of grant programs, and there’s certainly some willingness within the legislatures around the country to offer some financial support to make sure that we’re engaged in identifying the proper individuals to hold accountable for criminal behavior and prevent interacting or negatively interacting with citizens and that way, preserve their civil rights. Costs are something that you can overcome with determination, it is kind of rocket science when you get down to the technical aspect of it, but it isn’t rocket science when it comes down to the actual sharing. The second thing, there are some concerns about liability. Your liability and your agency are no different than the other agencies’ liability, whether you’re sharing their data or your own. You don’t release that information if it doesn’t belong to you. And if mistakes occur, and they do, then you own it, and fix it, because relationships work through those kinds of things. The next anticipation people asked me and say, how did she get through all the egos? Honestly, while ego is a necessary characteristic of a Peace Officer and of a Command Peace Officer, I want to tell you, I’ve run into an incredible dedication and devotion to making things happen. And they all know that we do better together. Working with others, I find the chiefs and sheriffs are an incredibly good bunch of people to work with, and they don’t let their egos get in the way of progress. Filtering, I think, Catherine, an actual response, filtering data that you don’t want in or filtering a case that you might have an immediately hot case. And I’ll use the crash of the helicopter involving Kobe Bryant, a very sad event but some of that data they didn’t want out in Los Angeles. So, in our systems were able to filter that out or the agency and themselves are able to turn a toggle and say we don’t want to feed that information to our system. Then the logistics, let me propose to you that we have elements in our organizations that tend to be disconnected from the line officers because their functions are so different, and that would be IT, the information technology people, have a hard time communicating with the line peace officers. The information-sharing effort gives us an opportunity to kind of bring those two groups together. And lo and behold, we find some devotion, dedication, similarities that build relationships there that cause us to begin to interchange internal data and find out how to make things happen that only a tech person could make us, make it possible, and getting them on your side and getting them available to you on a communication level that meets your need. I mean, we don’t all talk tech, which will really help your agency advance in data sharing.
Audience Question: How is LInX different from N-Dex?
Catherine A. Miller: I’ll be able to answer that to you. So, LInX was actually developed and started back in 2003, 2004 timeframe by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, to be able to share and work closely with the local and state law enforcement agencies around those assets by the Navy. So, it first started in Seattle, Washington makes sense with… and the Hampton Roads of Virginia area. So now we have like 15 LInX regions around the country. And that’s actually came later on. They went live about the 2008 timeframe on the national level. So, there are some similarities and differences. The two systems are connected, so some agencies, let’s say like Delaware, Pennsylvania agencies. Those they actually share with N-Dex. Well, N-Dex and LInX are connected, so my Maryland agencies or any of our agencies in LInX have access to the Pennsylvania and Delaware data. So, we really work closely together. We have a great partnership. There are other pieces that are a little different. I mean, the system itself is a little different. You do have two separate logins. Although, within LInX, you can query N-Dex, at the same time you query LInX data when you’re in N-Dex. A user that’s in N-Dex has access to some of our LInX data, but not all of the data right now. And the reason why that is that N-Dex came afterward, was only capable at the time to bring in certain datasets. Also, under the FBI’s APB, the legal counsel folks, they won’t allow or say that you can’t bring in —- data. And I think field interviews are a little iffy, but I’m not sure where they left that piece. So, there are some datasets that are in LInX that are not or will not be in N-Dex. So, there are some differences. But the two work very closely together. They are connected. And it’s a great partnership.
Audience Question: Will L LInX ever be available for Canada?
Catherine A. Miller: Oh gosh, I would love to. I will say, because when I first started, I had an office at NCIS, at the Navy Yard. But then they moved to Quantico, so I wasn’t able to bring my computer or phone —- Can’t work there. But when I was there, I know that the NCIS folks had gone several times to Canada, and what was holding back with some of the information sharing like treaties stuff and on the Canadian side. So, I’m not sure if some of that has changed. I will certainly ask my Canadian contacts. I do have several contacts because I am on several committees, and on the Technology Board for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. And I know Canada has a Canadian Chiefs of Police Association as well, so I will mark that as a question to see where Canada is and the ability to share across the border with law enforcement agencies in the US.
Audience Question: Do you have any examples of using this process for missing person cases?
Catherine A. Miller: Missing person cases and human trafficking cases, our LInX and N-Dex are hugely useful for those cases. In fact, on human trafficking cases, we even have separate training just for helping officers and detectives, and crime analysts who are working on those types of cases. When you mentioned Christine about the upcoming webinar with the US Marshals Service and the Missing Persons. I’ll be interested to see if they actually bring up the use of LInX and N-Dex, helping them with their cases because I can guarantee you, I’m like 99%, 99.9% positive. They probably use both systems to help them when they’re investigating those missing person cases.
David “Ship” Shipley: We work through, so many of those cases, they often don’t take the time to send their success stories to me. But especially the agencies along I-70 here in Colorado. That is the main corridor for drug trafficking and human trafficking. And we are experiencing data sharing benefits, probably on a daily, if not multiple times a day basis, because of the agencies that connect and stay involved with the CISC and LInX.
Audience Question: We know you and the partner systems are expanding all the time. Can you provide any highlights of new agencies or areas of recent expansion?
Catherine A. Miller: Well, let’s see, for the LInX program, I can say, in the National Capital Region, I have received grant funding to try to finish out the rest of Maryland and Virginia Agency. So, we have expanded to all of our large sheriff’s offices and police departments. And we just have, maybe 20 or so left of some very small agencies to bring them on board. So, I’ve been lucky enough to get grant funds for that. We have, in our other LInX regions the same thing if they have some grant funding or state funding to be able to bring in more agencies with that’s within their region. We try to work closely within the LInX regions that are already developed. I do know that N-Dex is also working to bring in areas other areas of the country. Of course, as Ship said earlier, you know, a lot has to do with cost and with money. I will say, if you’re in a region that’s not really covered yet, you can contact me. I have grant documents that I’ve written, and I’ve made generic than I have shared with other jurisdictions around the country who have also been successful and being able to pull together information sharing. It doesn’t have to be LInX specific. It can be, you know, just for, for your region that then shares to N-Dex as well or shares or brings into LInX if you’re in close to a LInX region. I’d also know that in our LInX mid-west, which first started out in Chicago, has expanded into a number of states, including Ohio. I believe, Tennessee, Indiana, a few agencies, Wisconsin. Michigan possibly. Don’t quote me on that, I don’t have it right in front of me, but one of your handouts is the 2020 LInX Annual Report. So, that may, we usually put our highlights in that report.
David “Ship” Shipley: We’re such a small state, we have 5.5 million people we work on constantly. We’re picking up new member agencies this year, but we have a number coming from gambling towns. And Catherine and I will be working together to propose regional support and assistance to states that may not have stood up an organization like the CISC. We have an expandable data warehouse that is scalable to whatever needs occur. And we have instituted through the board an opportunity for chapter members who can run their own affairs, take care of their own business, and put their data right in our data warehouse. Sharing with the membership here. And we share ours with their organizations, and it eliminates some of the logistics and the difficulty in standing up a Colorado Information Sharing Consortium and makes it more of a collaborative information sharing consortium regionally. So that’s our, kind of our vision, moving forward, is to create the chapter memberships so that they are more or less about logistics and more about actual data sharing and making a difference in a dent in the crime we all experience.
Click Here to Watch a Recording of Don’t Do Data Sharing Alone and Don’t Do It Half Way.