Some Augusta-area law enforcement agencies say a Web-based information-sharing platform could be here in the near future.
On Monday, the Atlanta Police Department lauded its Atlanta Police Intelligence Network, developed by software company Formulytics, for its role in streamlining investigations for local agencies.
The system allows investigators to address the “organized structure of criminal gangs and to view them in a larger picture,” a news release said. Gang investigations, for instance, are kept in a “living file” that tracks criminal history over time.
So far in 2013, the network has made more than 1,000 links between ongoing investigations in Atlanta.
“Criminals don’t restrict their activities to geographical boundaries,” Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said. “So it’s critical that police share intelligence across city and county lines.”
The department has been in talks with Clayton and DeKalb counties about adopting the network. A “collaborative pilot network” between the agencies is in the process of being built.
“As technology improves, and if the interest is there, I can definitely see us moving toward that kind of system in the future,” said Columbia County sheriff’s Capt. Steve Morris.
Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Calvin Chew said a psuedo-network already exists locally, but that it is no where near as formal as Atlanta’s.
“A lot of agencies now are doing things that allow us to look at what’s going on in their departments, whether it’s a Web page or something else like that,” he said. “That’s the goal of the sheriff: to work with all of the other offices and to work hand-in-hand on issues.”
Intelligence sharing mostly takes the form of monthly interagency meetings in Columbia County, Morris said.
“We don’t have anything computer-based (in Columbia County),” he said. “We host interagency staff meetings once a month, and we’ll invite police chiefs from Harlem, Grovetown and Thomson. We’ll also have representatives from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, the FBI and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation. It’s nice to know what’s going on next door.”
Though not as convenient as a Web-based platform, Morris said the meetings allow agencies to share information similar to the way the Atlanta platform works, but with face-to-face interaction. A similar system is used by the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, Capt. Eric Abdullah said.
“We make phone calls,” he said. “Our investigators will call (other agencies) and have a conversation one-on-one. It’s just easier to do it that way since we don’t live in a larger metropolitan area like Atlanta.”
Chew said the sheriff’s office would ultimately like to adopt a network similar to the one used in Atlanta, but it won’t be easy.
“That takes a lot of semantics and a lot of work to put together something that size,” he said.
Morris said agencies would also have to determine who would be responsible for monitoring the program.
“One agency would have to grant access, provide user names and passwords and so on,” he said. “I don’t see that being a problem, though.”