The Collaboration Crisis
By Mark Dodge
The Collaboration Crisis
A common phrase in law enforcement is that “cops talk.” Unfortunately, law enforcement agencies, typically, do not. Indeed, silos both within agencies and across agencies in public safety are one of the most significant barriers to safe, efficient and successful outcomes. As an extreme example of the opportunities for further collaboration in law enforcement, we can take a closer look at the vast Intelligence Community in the United States.
The US Intelligence Community
To illustrate, the United States (US) government has thousands of different local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. These frequently overlap. The US conducts intelligence activities at both the state and local level, in addition to these 17 separate federal organizations:
All 16 Members of the United States Intelligence Community.
- Office of the Director of National Intelligence (the leading body of the Intelligence Community),
- The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA),
- Air Force Intelligence,
- Army Intelligence,
- Coast Guard Intelligence,
- Defense Intelligence Agency,
- Department of Energy,
- Department of Homeland Security,
- Department of State,
- Department of the Treasury,
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA),
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI),
- Marine Corps Intelligence,
- National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency,
- National Reconnaissance Office,
- National Security Agency, and
- Navy Intelligence.
Without effective collaboration, organizations like these often duplicate their limited resources. Likewise, it creates potentially dangerous conflicts that put lives at risk.
HOW TO CULTIVATE TRUST
All experts agree: collaboration within and between agencies is more important than ever. But creating that collaboration has proven to be an incredible challenge. According to The Justice Management Institute (TJMI), a Colorado non-profit dedicated to research and education on justice administration, one of the key factors for successful collaboration is trust. Trust can be cultivated in several ways, including shared responsibility and accountability. But equally important is transparency, which TJMI defines here as: the creation and use of data sharing protocols, dashboards, and communication to encourage ongoing information sharing by all members and for all members of the collaborative body.
Transparency: The creation and use of data sharing protocols, dashboards, and communication to encourage ongoing information sharing by all members and for all members of the collaborative body.
Technology Can Help
New technologies can be a significant aid to transparency. For example, an effective case management system can allow different members of a team to easily and safely share information including: paperwork, evidence, photos, videos, notes, and more. An example of a case management system (CMS) that has made a big difference is Sentinel, which has been used be FBI since 2012. Sentinel allowed for global collaboration between FBI agents through robust suspect, case, and operational data sharing tools. (As storied here and here, Kaseware’s founders played an integral role in Sentinel’s creation.)
But what if a product like Sentinel was available across all law enforcement agencies? How much more time — and lives — could be saved? These questions, which at one point seemed unachievable, are what created Kaseware.
Kaseware is perhaps one of the best examples of a convenient CMS. This is in part, because of home much we value collaboration. Our founders helped the FBI create a system that facilitated team work and saw how much of a difference it made. Now we want to bring our game-changing software to as many teams as possible. To demonstrate how we help facilitate teamwork, Kaseware allows:
- Teams to easily work with each other, across any level in the department.
- The public to easily reach your department through its Public Portal.
- Storage of every detail of every case is in one place, so information can be accessed weeks, months and years later.
- Users to use any device (even their personal phone).
- Access to the most commonly used research sources, such as federal criminal justice databases and social media sites, directly from the platform.
As best said by one of our clients from an international aid organization, “The use of Kaseware assisted our teams in graphing human trafficking networks and gathering the information needed for law enforcement partners to take action against them. Kaseware’s integration of case management features with a suite of analytical tools has been especially helpful in tackling cross-border cases and internet-facilitated crimes. It allows for close investigative collaboration among our different offices, and between our investigators and crime analysts.”
When Technology is the Barrier
But Kaseware’s founders weren’t just concerned with product features, as convenient as they may be. They wanted convenience for every single step, including the often painful setup, implementation and maintenance processes.
They knew from first hand experience that even “cutting edge” technology can quickly become an enormous headache. This is in part because very few law enforcement systems can “do it all.” And as a result, most departments have to deploy several different softwares, all made by different companies.
Unfortunately, some software systems don’t play well with others. Some only run well on certain computers, or can have (very expensive) hosting difficulties. Some have digital restrictions. Considering there are 18,000 different ‘languages’ of various programs, two critical programs like dispatch and case management, for example, might not be compatible. This is precisely what makes it so challenging to work as a team internally, not to mention from agency to agency and across jurisdictions.
The New Workflow
Kaseware has eliminated a lot of these issues. For one, by combining so many convenient functions into one single system, users no longer need to battle with many different (conflicting) platforms. Secondly, it is hosted in the cloud. It therefore prevents the frustrating downtime and expense from an unexpected server update.
Results in Action: Collaborating to Fight Human Trafficking
As you can see, Kaseware has the power to dramatically change a team’s workflow. This is best stated by one of our clients from an international aid organization: “The use of Kaseware assisted our teams in graphing human trafficking networks and gathering the information needed for law enforcement partners to take action against them. Kaseware’s integration of case management features with a suite of analytical tools has been especially helpful in tackling cross-border cases and internet-facilitated crimes. It allows for close investigative collaboration among our different offices, and between our investigators and crime analysts.”
Kaseware’s ability to ease teamwork is already making a difference on some of today’s most dangerous issues. This includes the opioid crisis, drug trafficking, terrorism, mass shootings, cybercrime, and human trafficking. See how we can help your team today and schedule a demo here.