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Understanding the Intelligence Practices of State, Local, and Tribal Law Enforcement Agencies

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2011
206 pages
This study examined the experiences of State, local, and tribal (SLT) law enforcement agencies and fusion centers in building an intelligence capacity; understanding critical gaps in the sharing of intelligence information; and identifying obstacles related to other key intelligence issues, such as measuring performance and communication between agencies.
In addition, the study examined the activities of three fusion centers in order to identify strategies that are successful in increasing the information flow across agencies, the major obstacles to effective intelligence-gathering and information-sharing, and identify key practices for integrating domestic intelligence into the information-sharing environment and overcoming these obstacles. The study found that although significant progress has been made since 9/11 in installing fundamental policy and procedures related to building the intelligence capacity of law enforcement, there is significant room for improvement and a need to move agencies forward to be consistent with key requirements. Also, fusion centers are further along in instituting intelligence policies and practices than are individual law enforcement agencies. This is most likely because there has been a focus on developing fusion center operations and expertise by both the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. In addition, both samples of respondents emphasized that they have worked at building relationships with a diverse range of agencies, but they also indicated that they are not completely satisfied with these relationships. Further, there is a significant amount of information coming into and going out of these agencies. It is likely that without sufficient analysts within the organizations or poorly trained analysts, there are missed opportunities for strategic and tactical understanding of homeland security and criminal threats. Assessing the performance of analysts is difficult, but respondents emphasized the need to focus on the quality of strategic and tactical products produced. 60 references

Date Published: October 1, 2011