Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fusion center

Nebraska is in the process of developing a fusion center. The Nebraska State Patrol is leading the effort in our state, and the three partnering agencies are The Patrol, the Omaha Police Department, and Lincoln Police Department.

Fusion centers are places, people, and processes assembled to improve the analysis and sharing of criminal information. Originally focused on terrorism, as these centers have emerged an “all hazards” mission has become dominant. This means that fusion centers are analyzing and sharing information not just about terrorism, but also burglary rings, drug conspiracies, chop shops, gang violence, and the like. You can think of a fusion center as an emergency operations center for information, rather than for command and control.

The fusion process brings together information from disparate sources and “fuses” that into analytical products for public safety officials, from chiefs to patrol officers. The concept really is much more about this process than it is a facility. Personally, I think of a fusion center as a virtual place: a collection of information sharing processes, systems, and software that can be employed by authorized users and analysts wherever they may be physically deployed.

We have an awfully good jump on fusion in Nebraska. The Chief’s Corner documents many examples of the analytical capability of LPD, and the huge amount of information we put at the fingertips of our personnel. Down the street, the Nebraska Crime Commission has created and maintains an incredible fusion resource, The Nebraska Criminal Justice Information System. Omaha and Lincoln use the same imaging systems (DataWorks Plus) for mug shots, and the same GIS software (CrimeView) for geographic crime analysis. We should be well-positioned to leverage our existing resources.

We are currently in the process of selecting a software vendor to provide products to help fuse existing information sources. These products typically include enhanced querying capabilities from multiple systems, and some whiz-bang analytics and visualization tools. Two evaluators from each of the three agencies are reading and rating the 11 proposals submitted. Here at LPD, Assistant Chief Jim Peschong and I are the evaluators, and we both spent the past week wading through two huge boxes of binders. The score sheet for each proposal is an Excel spreadsheet with 373 rows. I think I need a new eyeglass prescription!


Anonymous said...

Will these fusion centers have their own employees or be maintained by the different agency employees? Ex: similar to a Joint Terrorism Task Force or more like an independent agency - NEMA (Nebraska Emergency Management Agency)

Tom Casady said...


More like the JTTF. I imagine the State Patrol will staff the fusion center with their existing crime and intelligence analysts and supervisors. Lincoln will probably not have staff on site, hence my focus not on the place, but on the "virtual" fusion center. Centers I'm aware of in other parts of the country draw their staffing from the major agencies that are already committing full-time employees to these tasks within their own agencies.

Anonymous said...

Good luck in your virtual fusion center. Statistics galore.

Trevor Brass said...

Awesome! Another vague term with many definitions for the layman to digest, just like corporate social responsibility. Does the new fusion concept displace any other intelligence hubs, such as general emergency planning and response by Nebraska Emergency Management Agency?

Anonymous said...

It’s it one of those “fusion center” that decided that pro 2A people, people who want limited government and returning military personal are potential domestic terrorists?

"Do you like Ron Paul or oppose abortion? You may be a member of a militia, according to a new report by a government information collection agency."

"‘Fusion center’ data draws fire over assertions"

Need I go on?

Anonymous said...

Even the ACLU go in the act with the "Fusion center"

"Fusion Center Declares Nation’s Oldest Universities Possible Terrorist Threat"

Tom Casady said...

9:12 / 9:23

What you have in these two examples, in my opnion, is a couple of overenthusiastic employees who wrote bulletins or briefing papers, and the failure of supervisors and managers to take a broader look and say:

"I don't think so."

Human beings are always the weak link in railroads, Computer systems, aircraft, and fusion centers.

Anonymous said...

get ready for martial law!!! first come fusion centers then comes concentration camps. take back our country!!!!