The Utah Statewide Information & Analysis Center (SIAC) was created to help the state’s law enforcement agencies identify and prevent threats to Utah’s citizens, communities, and critical infrastructure. SIAC needed a technology solution to help it more effectively identify threats posed by organized crime, gangs, drug cartels, and terrorists. The Fusion Core Solution, with robust capabilities provided by Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 and ESRI ArcGIS Server Advanced Enterprise software, provided enhanced intelligence and information sharing capabilities. With the Fusion Core Solution, SIAC can utilize existing assets and integrate with domain-specific applications, while significantly and cost-effectively improving business processes, compliance, and reach. Now, SIAC is better able to prepare for and respond to crises and to counter potential threats and criminal activities.Situation
The Utah Statewide Information & Analysis Center (SIAC) is a public safety partnership designed to help Utah’s law enforcement agencies effectively identify and help prevent threats posed by criminal and terrorist organizations, while strengthening the ability of government to prepare for and respond to natural disasters and other events. As the state’s intelligence fusion center, the SIAC has three major operational areas:
Intelligence analysis and investigative case support
The Intelligence Liaison Officer program
Critical infrastructure protection
The SIAC’s focus areas include investigative case support, risk and threat assessment, organized crime and gang analysis, counter-narcotics and drug trafficking, and counterterrorism.
Like many other public safety organizations, the SIAC has experienced an increased need for secure and trusted information gathering, assessment, and sharing in a multiple-agency and multilevel environment—including Utah’s 29 county sheriff’s offices,
||A unique aspect of this project is the deep partnership … between SIAC and the private sector to ensure the project’s success.... This approach significantly accelerated the project, allowing the team to go from bare servers to operation in 10 days.
Intelligence Bureau Chief, SIAC
more than 180 local law enforcement agencies, several corrections departments, and numerous specialized task forces. The SIAC also provides intelligence and security-related services to non-law enforcement and private sector entities. Though the SIAC provides intelligence support to all law enforcement agencies in the state, its daily operation is managed by the Utah Department of Public Safety.
The organization needed to be able to move information from intake to analysis to dissemination and archiving in a multiple-agency, multilevel environment, while utilizing existing assets and integrating with domain-specific applications.
“We needed the ability to take proactive action to prepare for and respond to crises and to counter potential threats and criminal activities. Our current system lacked effective data management practices,” says David Carabin, Intelligence Bureau Chief of the SIAC.
The SIAC collected information through different processes and methods, and without many data requirements. Once collected, the information was entered into proprietary and isolated systems, forcing analysts to sometimes enter the same data into two or more systems. These systems stored this information in data formats that were incompatible with other systems, requiring analysts to manually access and search multiple systems when running queries. Also, very little of the data included geospatial references, making it difficult to search or analyze the data by specific location or geographic region.
Additionally, the system did not allow for adequate supervisory oversight due to a lack of formalized workflows, compliance mechanisms, and data entry views. “SIAC managers lacked necessary situational awareness regarding what was being requested by customers and what projects personnel were working on. There was no way to track necessary performance metrics, which ultimately shape both the daily operation and the center’s strategic plan,” says Carabin.
Together, these factors adversely affected the ability of the SIAC to operate efficiently and effectively. SIAC personnel often became mired in manual and duplicative efforts, hindering their ability to make efficient use of the information; and supervisors lacked critical oversight and compliance capabilities. The SIAC needed a technology solution that would help reduce manual and duplicative efforts so that the organization could more effectively identify, prepare for, and respond to potential threats, natural disasters and other events.Solution
To help with these challenges, the SIAC chose the Fusion Core Solution, an easy-to-use, quick-to-configure solution that combines the robust capabilities of the ESRI ArcGIS Server Advanced Enterprise software and Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
The Fusion Core Solution provides a host of robust capabilities that the SIAC can apply toward its ability to prepare for and respond to crises, including:
Preloaded and customizable forms based on InfoPath Form Services.
Tools for searching across multiple data sources using Office SharePoint Server 2007.
Geospatial mapping capabilities using the ESRI ArcGIS Mapping for SharePoint.
Integrated capabilities for websites, wikis, and blogs based on Office SharePoint Server 2007.
Easily configured, security-enhanced connections to external data sources through Business Data Catalog features in Office SharePoint Server 2007.
Reporting capabilities to help with monitoring fusion center activities.
With the Fusion Core Solution, the SIAC can use existing assets and integrate with domain-specific applications to improve business processes, compliance, and reach. This gives the SIAC an enhanced ability to prepare for and respond to crises and to counter potential threats and criminal activities.
Notes Carabin, “A unique aspect of this project is the deep partnership that was formed between SIAC and the private sector to
||The SharePoint environment allows multiple agencies to collaborate and share documents without the cost of travel.
Intelligence Bureau Chief, SIAC
ensure the project’s success. Specifically, private sector partners, Microsoft and ESRI, provided significant assistance to the SIAC during the project’s implementation. This approach significantly accelerated the project allowing the team to go from bare servers to operation in 10 days.” Benefits
Working with the Fusion Core Solution, SIAC has improved operations and results through workflow management, information sharing, and geospatial intelligence technologies. Through easier collaboration and a reduction in duplicative efforts, the SIAC can more efficiently move information from intake to analysis to dissemination and archiving in a multiple-agency, multilevel environment. And an improved ability to monitor and track information exchanges helps the SIAC ensure the privacy of citizens.
In May 2010, the SAIC Fusion Core Solution was recognized by the Center for Digital Government as one of the winners of the Emergency Management Digital Distinction Awards Contest for its accomplishment in using information technology to improve information sharing and collaboration among law enforcement agencies. Improved Collaboration
Because the solution is based on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, all information entered into the Fusion Core Solution is searchable, providing a significant opportunity to reduce duplicative efforts that are time-consuming and resource intensive.
Through the tools available in Office SharePoint Server, analysts are able to collaborate on intelligence products and risk assessments from remote locations via the Internet.
“Previous attempts to collaborate in such a way proved fruitless, as it involved an inefficient use of time and resources,” says Carabin. “The SharePoint environment allows multiple agencies to collaborate and share documents without the cost of travel.”Improved Compliance
All fusion centers, including the SIAC, must ensure that the privacy of citizens is respected and the information being collected is not mishandled. With the Fusion Core Solution, the SIAC can monitor the activities of each analyst through a series of checks and balances built into the system.
“Most data entry workflows mandate supervisory oversight, which is an absolute necessity to assure the protection of civil liberties and privacy rights,” says Carabin. With the Fusion Core Solution, the SIAC will have the tools to help it comply with federal and state privacy requirements, including the State Criminal Intelligence Standards Code of Federal Regulations, Title 28, Chapter 1, Part 23 (28 CFR, Part 23).
Adds Major Jeff Carr of the Utah Department of Public Safety Investigations Bureau: “The biggest advantage I have seen is for workflow. Prior to having the system, we had no way to track workflow or document what the analysts were doing. The supervisor enjoys having a better handle on what the analysts are doing and that obviously helps us with compliance issues.”
According to Carabin, “Steps are currently underway to use the system for statewide collection of tips and leads and requests for information and intelligence services.” This would give public safety officials across the state the ability to enter a tip or request using the statewide portal and have that information flow automatically to the SIAC for analysis. Additionally, the SIAC has plans to use the system to support multistate collaboration across the Western United States.
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