Chicago police receive data analysis tool

The Chicago Police Department has deployed a data analysis system called Coplink that will allow users to find non-obvious relationships and patterns and solve crimes more quickly.

The system, made by Tucson, Ariz.-based Knowledge Computing Corp., is already in use in about 550 jurisdictions around the country, according to Robert Griffin, the company's chief executive officer. The Chicago department's Crime Center serves as the nucleus of a data sharing initiative that encompasses more than 400 departments, primarily in Illinois and Indiana.

"This will enable us to build on the successes we've already achieved at the Crime Center in thwarting criminals who operate across multiple jurisdictions in an attempt to avoid detection," said Interim Superintendent Dana V. Starks.

The system can compare data housed in incompatible databases and records management systems. Users can provide facts about an undergoing investigation and the system will find relationships between that information and existing data, providing new leads and avenues for law enforcement organizations to explore.

Officials used the system during the 2002 investigation of the random murders of the Washington, D.C., snipers as its proof-of-concept operation.

The value of the Chicago contract is about $500,000.

About the Author

Technology journalist Michael Hardy is a former FCW editor.

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