Collecting, Managing, & Using Information – You Need More Than A Records Management System 

Apr 6, 2023 | Company News

Collecting, Managing, & Using Information – You Need More Than A Records Management System 

Jody Weis is a former FBI Special Agent in Charge of the Philadelphia Field Office, the former Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, and a former Associate Director with Accenture. He is now a private consultant.

When I was a young agent on the Houston FBI’s Drug Squad, we were running an undercover case targeting a drug trafficking organization (DTO) wherein we recorded more than a thousand consensual tapes with our Undercover Agent and the Cooperating Witness. My partner looked at the tapes and made a comment I will always remember – “These should be recorded on toilet paper so they would have some real use.” We were making these tapes and writing brief summaries which were stored in the FBI’s record system; but back in the 80’s, we had no real-time tool to really know what we had or to draw out the subtle nuances that might tie together various players. That’s one of the reasons criminal enterprise cases with the Bureau back then took so long – the painstaking analysis of these recordings that sought to uncover key relationships and identify information that would allow for prosecutive actions. That was not an easy ask then, and it is not an easy task today unless you have the right tools. Modern Case Management Systems (CMS) can greatly help.

Intelligence, or Intel, should drive actions. Intel is derived from raw information collected from a myriad of sources. Sources such as complaints, tips, arrests, informants, electronic surveillance, physical surveillance, field interrogations, and other traditional law enforcement actions all provide law enforcement with information. In addition, investigators now can receive information from or about the public through open-source tools, third party tips, public portals and from other law enforcement agencies.. The amount of data available to today’s investigators is simply overwhelming and is extremely difficult to synthesize into actionable intelligence without the help of sophisticated analytics. So once data is collected, how do you manage it?

Simply organizing a paper case file with only traditional information is not that difficult. However, utilizing an easy-to-use case management system can organize even the most complicated collection of information.  What modern case does not involve information from the open and dark web, PDF’s, photographs, recordings? What about data that might come from other agencies or gleaned from social media – how does an investigator effectively and efficiently pull these commonly used types of information so that it can be managed appropriately? Fortunately, with today’s tools, specifically a robust CMS, data can be easily structured and aggregated, as well as compartmentalized when necessary, in the appropriate cases and files. Triggers can be set for people, objects, locations, or events, that will automatically notify an investigator of a key development in a case based upon an action that just occurred. All of these capabilities help organize the information so now the investigator is in a better position to use it effectively.

Once data and information are linked together with alerts in place, an investigator can easily see the relationships between individuals (subjects, witnesses, or victims) , locations, potential evidence, and other key points that will allow him, or her, to act. Trying to manually find those relationships from the data sitting in a department’s record management system is a challenging endeavor and one that should be a thing of the past.  This would have made those thousands of recordings regarding that DTO investigation so much more useful  given the real-time ability to analyze the data and identify those leads that can bring a case to a successful resolution.  

From my time at Accenture, a company that is 100% technology agnostic, I was fortunate to see many product companies. In the world of CMS’, one that has impressed me is Kaseware. The founders of this company (two former FBI Agents) completed the FBI’s Sentinel CMS when large firms had failed (I saw those failures firsthand). The Kaseware application does not take your data hostage and is very affordable (their prices are on their website – totally transparent). We all know that police agencies are driven by forms and reports, and I have not seen any offering that allows for a department to generate the necessary forms and reports as easily as Kaseware. Combining their CMS application with highly sophisticated analytics and allowing for easy integration to Open-Source Intelligence (OSINT) makes this one of the best CMS’ on the market, If you’re looking to enhance your department’s investigative capabilities, please take a look at Kaseware and see it for yourself!

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