Name Your Suspect
Law enforcement officials often have difficulty dealing with people’s names in databases. For example, disparities often occur when translating names into the Roman alphabet from languages such as Chinese, Thai, or Arabic.
Soon, local law enforcement will gain access to the State Department’s database of 50 million overseas U.S. visa applicants. The department hopes that such access will make it easier for local law enforcement to monitor individuals whose names are on federal anti-terror watch lists.
Local law enforcement may benefit from upgrading all their systems with a multicultural name searching tool from firms such as Language Analysis Systems (LAS) in Herndon, Va. The system goes beyond basic Soundex technology (a coded surname index based on how a name sounds) and key-based strategies to solve name problems.
When a user runs a name through the system after pulling over a driver, for instance, the program provides multiple, legitimate variations of that name.
LAS has also developed training programs for guide officers in real time based on LAS’ Name Reference Library tool. The training program has been used by the New England State Police Information Network, a part of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Regional Information Sharing Systems program.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from Law Enforcement Technology (01/05) Vol. 32, No. 1, P. 76; Hermansen, John C.