A collaborative approach has been espoused by different sectors in addressing some of their most pressing issues. It is no different when it comes to crime gun prevention and investigation. Santa Clara County in California employed such an approach to resolve their gun crime problem and its results were astounding.
This webinar’s speakers are Ron Nichols and Marisa McKeown who will talk about how Santa Clara was able to accomplish this from a prosecutor’s point of view. Ron Nichols is from Nichols Forensic Science Consulting with more than 25 years of experience as a firearm and toolmark examiner. He’s testified in more than a hundred cases and hearings involving firearm and toolmark evidence. His expertise in this area allowed him to write and publish the book Firearm and Toolmark Identification and other publications referenced in court decisions. Meanwhile, Marisa McKeown is the Supervising Deputy District Attorney in Santa Clara County where she’s in charge of central and general felonies. She also leads the office’s Crime Strategies Unit, which will be central in this course’s discussion.
Some of the points covered in this session include:
- The importance of collaboration in the criminal justice field and the challenges that too often comes with it that includes delays and lack of proper prioritization.
- The difference between cooperation and collaboration and why one is preferred over the other.
- An overview of Santa Clara County and the increasing gun crime problem that plagued San Jose.
- The creation of the Crime Strategies Unit, its funding, purpose and structure.
- The gap analysis conducted for the Crime Strategies Unit, the identified gaps for the police and the laboratory, and how these gaps were addressed.
- A look into the workflow of the Crime Strategies Unit’s Gun-Related Intel Program (GRIP) and understanding why having a workflow is basic and critical for any similar unit.
- GRIP’s data-driven, prosecution-led and intelligence-driven approach to zero in on the issue of gun crimes that optimizes evidence and human intelligence towards a successful investigation.
- The importance of intelligence sharing and collaboration when running the Crime Strategies Unit and GRIP done through regular meetings, updates and summaries, and focused investigations.
- Operation Redwood, a case study that demonstrated how GRIP’s early operations was able to identify a series of gun-related crimes that ended with recovery of weapons and an arrest.
- The place-based analysis that produces a heatmap identifying gun crime hotspots.
- The gang-driven analysis that enables them to link gang members from separate incidents and/or arrests/
- The different products and services that GRIP is able to provide their jurisdiction with and working on employing spatial analysis for gun crime investigations.
- The lessons learned through the team that highlights how prosecutors can help with investigations and how collaboration and intelligence sharing achieve desired outcomes.
- Audience questions were about:
- Fields included in the centralized database.
- How the unit was formed.
- Tracking self-defense versus offensive incidents.
- Getting people to accept and embrace change in processes and mindset.
- How attrition and turnover impacts investigations, how the Crime Strategies Unit allows continuity despite attrition, and addressing the potential for these issues as early as the hiring stage.
Resources Mentioned During Webinar
- Crime Gun Intel Analysis Discussion Group: To join, contact [email protected]
- “The tracking chart and the explanation of the GRIP meetings along with the mission of those meetings will be next thing I bring when I meet with my group. Also, the explanation of NEED vs. WANT when gathering intel and investigate resources and the impact to time and resources “wants” can put on the system. Great talk!” — Robert
- “The importance of making sure the NIBIN leads to getting to the correct email address and or contact person. Because of retirement and change of positions, etc., the correct communication is not only necessary, it is vital in getting the crime drivers off the streets and for the entire protection of the community. Great seminar!” — Pamela
- “The impact that the prosecutor’s office can have on the NIBIN universe. As a forensic examiner with NIBIN being implemented in the near future, it was valuable to hear and see the success that can be achieved with it.” — Blake
- “Very informative. Exactly what I wanted to learn.” — Denise
- “GREAT lecturers, loved their enthusiasm! Great real-world examples of how to entice buy-in.” — Elizabeth
- “As a Crime Scene tech having updated information and understanding what prosecution and investigator’s need related to NIBIN allows me to continue work that is beneficial and essential while avoiding time used on unnecessary or non-probative material/work.” — Jaime