The idea of law enforcement networking goes back a long way, and today, it's hard to see a police car without some kind of network terminal in it enabled for remote access. But IBM (News - Alert) is taking this idea to an impressive new level with the IBM i2 COPLINK on Cloud system, a cloud-based tool that gives law enforcement agencies, regardless of size or location, access to over one billion documents that can be readily accessed, shared and updated.
IBM's i2 COPLINK system has been around for quite some time—reports suggest it's nearly 20 years old—but the growth of cloud computing overall has elevated this tool for law enforcement's use. The COPLINK system uses a combination of tools, including analytics and so-called “fuzzy searches”, to help law enforcement bridge critical gaps in information and draw the conclusions that are necessary to make arrests. Plus, the system can even allow for things like geospatial mapping to kick in, allowing the generation of maps by time, so that patterns in burglaries or arsons or the like can be more readily spotted and potentially stopped.
Moving it to the cloud, meanwhile, opens up the number of possibilities for access, and reduces the amount of IT support required to engage in such practices. The need to shell out a lot of money up front falls through the floor, and the ongoing expenses required to sustain such a system carry on likewise. This is particularly useful in an environment where budgets are on the decline.
IBM's general manager of the Safer Planet division, Robert Griffin, offered up some comment on the new release, saying, “Access to the vast volume of law enforcement data hosted on the cloud can increase an agency's ability to uncover hidden relationships in data, and also can help agencies establish crime patterns outside their own region and share information across jurisdictions using security features. IBM's decision to make i2 COPLINK accessible via the cloud enables the transformation of law enforcement to continue—now a department with 40 police officers can access the same data and analytics tools as a department of 40,000.”
Great news for law enforcement, and mostly good news for the rest of us, this means that law enforcement is likely to have even better access to a valuable tool that helps it find criminals, and that's the kind of thing that helps keep us all a bit safer. The idea of a criminal slipping away, or eluding law enforcement years longer than they should, because two counties didn't share information is a galling one, and one that's less likely to happen with the expansion of i2 COPLINK. The fact that it allows law enforcement to do a better job without accompanying tax hikes, meanwhile, should be a welcome one for most citizens.
It's one more great example of how cloud-based technology is improving our everyday life, and giving us all a string of new advantages. Whether we're checking on the status of our lights and heat at home while away, or allowing the police to better share information and find criminals, the end result is the same: we all come out ahead, thanks to the cloud and the ability to reach information regardless of location.