Many police departments are facing budget problems, forcing them to cut their police force down. Many officers are being asked to do things they normally don’t do such as patrolling. Police departments are also facing increasing crimes due to the poor economy. More people are engaging in criminal activities. Local and small agencies interact with the communities that they patrol on a daily basis. Sharing information between agencies are important not only for Home Land Security but for the public’s safety as well.
Law enforcement agencies are using The Home Land Security Information Network which allows them to securely collaborate with partners across the country. Law enforcement professionals also use HSIN to share information including Be on the Lookouts (BOLOs), Requests for Information (RFIs), For Your Information (FYIs), Intelligence Reports, and other Law Enforcement Sensitive documents. HSIN allows users to create and distribute messages to large, mission-specific contact lists.
This rapid, secure information exchange provides law enforcement professionals with critical intelligence as they conduct work in the field (“Homeland Security Information Network – Law Enforcement Mission”, n. d. ). The purpose of this State and Local Fusion Center Concept of Operations (CONOPS) is to establish a framework for a comprehensive, coordinated and consistent approach for outreach by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to State and Local Fusion Centers (SLFCs).
This CONOPS outlines DHS processes relating to SLFC support including intelligence and operational information flows and interactions, deployment of officers, component integration, and identification of SLFC requirements, technical assistance and training. DHS will also ensure outreach, communication, and integration with other multidisciplinary partners (i. e. , fire service, public health, and emergency management), to further ensure and facilitate information sharing between SLFCs and these disciplines.
This CONOPS will be periodically reviewed and modified as additional processes are implemented and refinements identified The CONOPS provides transparency into DHS support to SLFCs. The CONOPS also: – Furthers the goals of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Program Manager Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE) to develop and support a national information sharing environment and network of fusion centers.
Underscores the role of the Under Secretary for Intelligence and Analysis as the Executive Agent for DHS SLFC Program and DHS’s representative to various Federal Senior-level advisory groups providing guidance and support to fusion centers. – Defines the roles and responsibilities of the State and Local Program Management Office (SLPO) to execute the DHS SLFC Implementation Plan and to lead DHS outreach to SLFCs which includes, but is not limited to, the assignment of DHS intelligence analysts and officers and the provision of tools to the fusion centers nationwide.
The SLPO serves in the central coordination role for DHS interaction with SLFCs. – Institutionalizes the Single Point of Service (SPS), a coordinated Office of Intelligence and Analysis/Office of Operations Coordination and Planning business process, developed to ensure all SLFC inquires are responded to expeditiously by the appropriate elements within DHS and there is accountability for this transactional activity.
An assumption circulating within information sharing discourse is that the effectiveness of information sharing can be measured in terms of information flow, distribution, timeliness, coordination, and related system performance measures. 44 The Information Sharing Environment’s (ISE) stated mission is to ensure the ability of agencies to share information – but just who is responsible for ensuring that such abilities to share information tangibly improve preparedness remains unclear.
This study indicates that using system performance measures and capabilities to assess the effectiveness of information sharing is inadequate and potentially wasteful and misleading. In developing metrics to assess the benefits of information sharing, officials must engage in the difficult task of relating system use to tangible improvements in preparedness. Information-sharing initiatives also unfold within varying budgetary constraints and divergent funding priorities.
As a result, future research needs to address how financial and structural conditions influence information-sharing processes and practices. This study also suggests the need for comparative and longitudinal research of information sharing. However, future studies that attempt to construct concrete variables for hypothesis testing may similarly confront the contingency of the meanings of information sharing and preparedness.
Although information sharing and preparedness are socially-defined concepts, their meanings can be mapped within different organizational contexts and across time using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Doing so can potentially assist policy makers and practitioners assess the utility of information-sharing strategies and the impact of associated organizational change efforts.