Today the political and social climates, especially in larger cities, are significantly occupied with downsizing, defunding or even doing away with Law Enforcement. This focus, or obsession as you may, is placing Law Enforcement under more pressure than ever as budgets are slashed, employee’s public and private lives scrutinized for every behavior and public trust of Law Enforcement in larger cities at its lowest point ever.
The unfortunate truth is that the most expensive cost to Law Enforcement is manpower, or the police officer and the employees required to support them. Therefore it is evident that with all the focus on police budgets decreasing or being diverted by politicians to make voters happy, the brunt of these cuts will fall on the uniformed officers that provide stability to the cities that are now attacking them.
To counter any decrease in manpower, Law Enforcement Agencies will have to be more focused than ever on efficiency. A proven path that Law Enforcement can take to create efficiency in this time of chaos is to integrate or improve their analytics. For decades, many organizations have used analytics to increase their efficiency through the ability to place officers where they are most likely to find crime, identify emerging patterns of crime, analyze crime organizations from human and sex trafficking to opiates and drug rings to interdict and collapse them, white-collar crime and countless other criminal activities.
Additionally, while most analytic solutions are focused on decreasing crime, analytics can also be applied to the Law Enforcement Agency itself to find deficiencies in administration, budgets, operations, as well as identify fraud and internal theft. Current analytical solutions and can also be used to access the conduct of their officers and use publicly available information to assess the public’s response to police initiatives and their reaction to the Law Enforcement Agency in general. The ability for analytics to focus on internal practices and process is one that is often overlooked by Law Enforcement.
The key to effective Law Enforcement analytics is access to data and even here, efficiencies need to be applied to prevent analysts from spending all their time collecting data instead of analyzing it and to save money. Currently, the LEA Analyst has access to a multitude of datasets from Publicly Available Information (Lexis Nexis, Whooster, TLOClear, EAG Cyber Intelligence Dashboard), to CAD/RMS data, to Local and National datasets (RTCC and HIDTA), Ring, camera and geospatial databases, not to mention the vast amounts of internal data that an agency generates. The ability to connect to all that data efficiently and leverage it is critical to improving analytical efficiency and saving precious time and resources. That is why any analytical solution should have the ability to connect to all that data, regardless of location, format or structure and bring that into a data analytical tool like i2 Analyst’s Notebook. Blue Light’s Blue Fusion was created to address this exact requirement and can provide significant improvements of over 60% in data collection, making analysts more efficient and optimizing budget dollars.
Currently, there is a misperception that analytical systems are very expensive and out of the reach of most Law Enforcement agencies. While there are some solutions are extremely expensive and cost hundreds of thousands, even millions of dollars, tools like i2 Analyst’s Notebook and solutions like Blue Light’s Blue Fusion can be purchased, installed and trained for a lot less. This allows Law Enforcement to have the same analytics as National Law Enforcement Agencies and the Department of Justice being applied to their specific problems. Most of these solutions can be covered by state or federal grants as well, giving Law Enforcement options to replace budget cuts with other monies.
With analytics, Law Enforcement Agencies have a proven path to continue to perform their mission with reduced manpower by making their departments more efficient. With the ability of analytics to assess all the data that an Analyst has access to, or that the department generates, analytical systems can reduce the impact of diminished funding through identifying trends, patterns and anomalies in data that can then be used to make informed decisions on better policing practices and more efficient budget spend allowing Law Enforcement to optimize any reductions in their budget.