How can we improve information sharing among local law enforcement agencies?
Miller, Patrick E.
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The events of 9/11 and subsequent examination of the intelligence community in the United States have clearly identified several areas that require immediate repair. While we have, on the federal, state and local levels, a complex system of collecting, developing, and analyzing intelligence that can be used to prevent terrorist attacks, we do not have an accompanying system that shares intelligence information throughout the law enforcement community. The purpose of this thesis is to review information sharing between federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and to suggest methods to improve that capability. In the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, authorities uncovered patterns of suspicious activity occurring in places such as Maryland, Florida, and New Jersey. These activities included individuals paying cash for plane tickets, taking flight lessons, inquiring about crop duster planes, and frequenting drug stores. Taken individually, these incidents were not overly suspicious; nor were they seen as serious when reported to authorities. Yet, all together they illustrate at best highly suspicious behavior, and at worst a picture of a master plan of prospective criminal activity. When collecting data on terrorist potential, one isolated incident in a local jurisdiction may not have obvious significance, but the ability to view all incidents together across cities or states might paint a more complete picture. Agencies are now recognizing the benefits of data sharing across institutions and jurisdictions.