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Improving Information-Sharing Across Law Enforcement - Why Can't We Know?

NCJ Number
Date Published
32 pages
This report reviews progress to date in improving law enforcement agencies' information-sharing ability and affordability, barriers remaining, and approaches for overcoming these barriers.
This report notes improvement in information-sharing standards among records management systems (RMSs), which maintain agencies' case histories, and computer-aided dispatch (CAD) as well as other key systems. Progress has also been made in the infrastructure for developing and using standards. In addition, there has been progress in developing repositories of shared law enforcement information at the Federal, State, and regional levels. Information-sharing systems' affordability has also improved. Information-sharing architecture remains complex, however, such that only a fraction of the interfaces have standards, and the standards that do exist often overlap or conflict with each other. Adequate security for the information-sharing systems is elusive. In the interest of profits and competitive advantage, commercial providers of information-sharing systems have fought standardization and efforts to increase affordability. A major concern, particularly among smaller agencies is the cost of RMS and CAD systems. Commercial providers, on the other hand, report challenges in receiving input from law enforcement agencies on their requirements for information-sharing systems. This report recommends developing a common business process in which practitioners and developers cooperate in identifying the requirements for law enforcement information technology (IT) systems. Also, in order to build trust among agencies sharing data with one another, the agencies involved must agree on policies that set conditions for data usage, access control, other information assurance provisions, and audit procedures that ensure policy compliance. Regarding affordability challenges, new models are emerging to address IT total lifecycle cost issues, notably cloud and software-as-a-service solutions. The methodology for obtaining information for this report is described. 6 figures, 2 tables, and 63 references

Date Published: January 1, 2015