Law Enforcement’s Information Sharing Infrastructure: A National Assessment

Law Enforcement’s Information Sharing Infrastructure: A National Assessment


Police Quarterly


Steven Chermak, Jeremy Carter, David Carter, Edmund F. McGarrell, Jack Drew

The September 11 attacks impacted society generally, and law enforcement specifically, in dramatic ways. One of the major trends has been changing expectations regarding criminal intelligence practices among state, local, and tribal (SLT) law enforcement agencies and the need to coordinate intelligence efforts and share information at all levels of government. In fact, enhancing intelligence efforts has emerged as a critical issue for the prevention of all threats and crimes. To date, an increasing number of SLT law enforcement agencies have expanded their intelligence capacity, and there have been fundamental changes in the national, state, and local information sharing infrastructure. Moreover, critical to these expanding information sharing expectations is the institutionalization of fusion centers (FCs). Despite these dramatic changes, an expanding role, and the acknowledgement that local law enforcement intelligence is critical to the prevention and deterrence of threats and crimes, very little research exists that highlights issues related to the intelligence practices of SLT law enforcement agencies and FCs.1 This research describes what agencies are doing to build an intelligence capacity and assesses the state of information sharing among agencies. Specifically, a national survey was developed to examine the experiences of SLT agencies and FCs for building an intelligence capacity as well as to understand critical gaps in the sharing of information regarding intelligence.

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