How Beneficial are Crime Analysts?

A survey conducted by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) in 2008 concluded that "89% of responding agencies reported having staff whose primary or secondary duty was crime analysis." Since then, there have been ongoing budget cuts, making it necessary to cut down on all non-essential positions. Without data on how beneficial crime analysts are, it will be hard to justify their positions.   

 In March, The VERA Institute of Justice and the Bureau of Justice Assistance published a cost-benefit analysis titled "Putting a Value on Crime Analysts: Considerations for Law Enforcement Executives."  This paper is particularly innovative as the field has not previously provided many cost-benefit studies of crime analysts. It also offers guidance for police executives…

A Worst Practices Guide to Insider Threats: Lessons from Past Mistakes

Scenario: Mike sits at his cubicle where he works on nuclear power plant architecture. He is careful to wait for Sally to leave the room so he can take snapshots of the schematics with his cellphone, alone. He is up-to-date on all of his clearances and security training, but two days ago he received a letter threatening to expose his wife's gambling debt if he does not deliver the photos of the sensitive nuclear information by tonight, to a mystery buyer. With the money he will make, he can pay off his wife's debt...

You've seeInsider Threatn it before in public service announcements and workplace-mandated training: the insider threat that seems obvious enough that you can safely assume that you…

Extreme Heat in Texas Prisons: A "Violation of Basic Human Rights"

Prison A new report released this week by the University of Texas School of Law Human Rights Clinic claims that the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) is guilty of human rights violations against inmates kept in "dangerously high temperatures and extreme heat conditions." The report, "Deadly Heat in Texas Prisons," finds that at least fourteen inmates incarcerated in various TDCJ facilities have died from extreme heat exposure since 2007, many with preexisting health conditions that made them heat-sensitive. In spite of these incidents, TDCJ "has yet to implement measures that effectively mitigate heat-related injury in inmate housing."

According to the report, while TDCJ does not currently set a limit on how hot a prisoners' cell can be (which can reach…

Trending Today: How Social Media Will Change the Face(book) of Disasters

Social MediaThe Center for National Policy's Task Force for a Resilient America released a new report, "Connecting America: Building Resilience with Social Media" this month.

The project aims to develop the most effective messages to promote resilience in the individuals and societies of America. Their toolbox is expanding from traditional media such as print and public service announcements- to social networking. This new shift empowers individual Americans "to have the ability to withstand, nimbly respond and recover, and adapt to the risks and disruptions that might occur in their daily life due to natural or manmade disasters."

The report chronicles the advances of social media platforms since "The 9/11 Decade" to present day, and highlights the value of social media to…

DoD Inspector General Releases Assessment of Security Clearance Processes

DoD Seal Recent active shooter incidents at government facilities, such as the September 2013 shooting at the Washington Navy Yard and the April 2014 shooting at Fort Hood, have made clear the need to review security clearance processes nationwide. This week, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the DoD responded to that need with the release of a new report entitled, "An Assessment of Contractor Personnel Security Clearance Processes in the Four Defense Intelligence Agencies." The objective of this review was to assess "how, or if, substantiated investigations of misconduct were reported to Agency Clearance Adjudication Facilities (CAF) and to the DoD Consolidated Adjudication Facility (DODCAF)" as well as the results of adjudications.

Following its review, the OIG noted five…

Major Overhaul to Hurricane Sandy Recovery in the Works

In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy made a devastating impact to the east coast, "caus[ing] more than $19 billion in damage and lost economic activity[.]" Since then, there have been several relief programs that have helped in rebuilding the communities that were affected.

A recent Press Release given by Mayor de Blasio on April 17, 2014 described how these relief programs have been assisting in the recovery of the communities that have been affected. The de Blasio administration also referenced an in-depth report titled, "One City, Rebuilding Together: A Report on the City of New York's Response to Hurricane Sandy and the Path Forward." This report, "follows a number of improvements made since January to cut red tape and move…

IPCC Releases Working Group III's Report on Climate Change

Climate Change The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) released yesterday the climate change report of Working Group III (WGIII) out of Berlin, Germany. The report, "Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change," assesses "literature on the scientific, technological, environmental, economic and social aspects of mitigation of climate change."

Ultimately, the report "transparently lays out risks, uncertainty and ethical foundations of climate change mitigation policies on the global, national and sub-national level, investigates mitigation measures for all major sectors and assesses investment and finance issues." The report also "features an improved treatment of social, economic and ethical issues, and sustainable development." WGIII does not, however, recommend any particular option for mitigation.

A more in-depth summary of the findings of WGIII can be…

Boston, Massachusetts A new Inspectors General (IGs) report was released yesterday on the Boston Marathon bombings that focuses on information handling and sharing by the U.S. intelligence community (IC) prior to the incident. The 168-page review itself is classified, but the IGs have publicly released the Unclassified Summary which can be found in the HSDL collection.

The review was conducted by the IGs for the Intelligence Community, Central Intelligence Agency, Department of Justice, and Department of Homeland Security in order to determine the answers to three main questions following the bombings:

  1. "The extent of the information available to the U.S. government concerning the relevant individuals and events preceding the Boston Marathon bombings;
  2. Whether the sharing of this information was complete, accurate, and…

Emergency Response following Boston Marathon bombingsAnother report on the Boston Marathon bombings was released this week out of Harvard University, this time by the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative (Initiative). The Initiative's report, "Crisis Meta-Leadership Lessons from the Boston Marathon Bombings Response: The Ingenuity of Swarm Intelligence," analyzes the leadership of the myriad agencies that responded to the event. Specifically, it "seeks to understand how they were able to effectively lead an [emergency response] operation with remarkable results" by measuring "lives saved, suspects quickly captured, public confidence maintained and population resilience fostered."

The report attributes the remarkable results of response efforts to a phenomenon called "swarm intelligence." Swarm intelligence is defined as a situation "in which no one is in charge and yet, with all following…

White House Remarks on Recent Fort Hood Shooting

Yesterday, April 2, 2014, SObama Ft. Hoodpecialist Ivan Lopez opened fire on fellow service members at Fort Hood in Texas, killing 3 people and wounding 16 before committing suicide.  Lopez was undergoing psychiatric treatment at the time for depression, anxiety and a variety of other psychological problems as well as going through a diagnosis of potential post-traumatic stress disorder. The motivation behind this incident is still unknown and currently being investigated.

The White House published President Obama's official response to the shootings. In his response he stated:  "Any shooting is troubling.  Obviously this reopens the pain of what happened at Fort Hood five years ago.  We know these families.  We know their incredible service to our country and the sacrifices that