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The helping hand of BI

This article appears in the issue Nov/Dec 2001 [Volume 10, Issue 10]

User stories from the knowledge front

Good crime fighting requires good information, so law enforcement departments across the nation have for years enlisted the support of automated systems. Those were initially mainframe-based, using batch processing methods to produce limited queries and reports.

But now new technologies make it possible for intrepid law enforcement officers to delve even deeper into data, piecing the puzzle together more quickly and completely.

Officials in Oakland County, MI, for example, have updated their technology with a new business intelligence solution that provides faster and more convenient reporting capabilities. The Oakland County-based Courts and Law Enforcement Information System (CLEMIS, co.oakland.mi.us/c_serv/clemis) has implemented BI/Suite from Hummingbird (hummingbird.com) for its database. The Michigan organization is comprised of members of the public safety community including law enforcement, fire and emergency management departments within the Department of Information Technology. Often referred to as a law enforcement computer system, CLEMIS was built to enable the criminal justice and public safety agencies to maximize their use of collected data.

“We were looking for a software solution that offered good overall reporting capabilities, was easy to learn and use and, above all, would give police officers a powerful helping hand in efforts to fight crime,” says Joe Sullivan, manager of the CLEMIS project. “BI/Suite gives officers quick insight into up-to-the-minute record data for crime investigation and enables them to make faster and better informed decisions.”

With the solution, more than 2,500 officers and 75 agencies can analyze criminal data in the CLEMIS database more effectively, according to a recent press release from Hummingbird. Users can create daily reports and can drill down into data to see trends, statistics and match characteristics of related crimes. The software provides both static and interactive reporting capabilities. Prompts and hot buttons let users narrow or expand the scope of their reports, which can be distributed in HTML, PDF, CSV or Palm OS Quicksheet formats.

“Previously our mainframe system was too complex for casual use,” says Sullivan. “Now our database can be optimized because [the software] ensures that the information we put into the system is easily and quickly retrievable.

CLEMIS also implemented a specialized public safety software solution called Premier CAD from Printrak, a Motorola company. Together Printrak and BI/Suite enhance information sharing by giving neighboring law enforcement agencies access to the system. That is said to create a pool of knowledge that makes it easier to track criminals and their activities across jurisdictional borders


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