In September of 2004, the Harbor Police for the Port of San Diego embarked on a data sharing initiative.
The port installed Crossflo Systems’ DataExchange software to share data with a variety of government agencies with the expectation of helping to prevent terrorist events from occurring in one of the nation’s most vulnerable ports. This first demonstration of interagency data sharing using Crossflo DataExchange became known as the Regional Information Sharing and Analysis initiative, or “RISA,” and was completed in November 2004, with Memex Inc., Vienna, Va., providing graphical data analysis software.
The data-sharing effort allows agencies a broad view of data associated with maritime and airport security in order to protect against the threat of terrorist and other criminal activity. The San Diego data-sharing project was completed in less than 90 days with all of the Los Angeles agencies added in three weeks.
Betty Kelepecz is Crossflo’s senior vice president, Integrated Law Enforcement and Maritime Security Solutions, a 23Ω-year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department and former police chief of the San Diego Harbor Police Department. She says the initiative’s objective was to prevent and/or interrupt terrorist activity. The harbor was already equipped with alarm sensors, video systems and physical barriers, but needed to gather and analyze incident data from several standalone databases in order to develop “actionable intelligence” and interrupt terrorist activities.
Crossflo DataExchange software is a data sharing platform that aims to reduce the time and cost to share data, relieve the pain of data sharing to the end-user, incorporate the latest Federal data sharing standards and retain control and integrity of each database in the hands of its owner. The software is designed for a large number of agencies at all levels to link legacy databases of all kinds.
The participants in the original and expanded RISA initiative and other recent Crossflo users include: San Diego Harbor Police Department; Los Angeles Joint Drug Intelligence Group; Los Angeles Port Police; Los Angeles County Sheriffs Office; Unified Port of San Diego; Long Beach Police Department; U.S. Coast Guard; Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services; Kalispell Regional Medical Center in Montana; Flathead County Public Health in Montana; New Jersey State Police; and the New Jersey Statewide Intelligence Management System.
The Los Angeles Port Police started testing the software and entering data around a year ago and plans to implement the software into its communication department early in 2006. “The system was chosen for its ability to work in multiple platforms,” Los Angeles Port Police Chief Ron Boyd says. “It will be used to share data among the agencies in the area as a preventative against terrorist attacks.” During testing, Boyd said he found the system to be “effective in facilitating regional information sharing between agencies.”
“A police chief has two primary responsibilities: To decrease crime and the fear of crime while ensuring the safety of the officers that each day put their lives on the line,” Kelepecz says. “With this capability, they are safer and able to respond more effectively to incidents.”
The RISA project began in mid-2004, when Crossflo applied to the Center for Commeralization of Advanced Technology for a product development award and a market study. “CCAT’s objective and charter were ideal for us,” said Renney Senn, president and CEO of Crossflo. “(The program) offered extremely rapid support of very early stage companies with technologies like ours that look like they have promise for Homeland security.” In July of 2004, the company was notified by CCAT that they would receive a grant of $75,000 and a market study.
The Crossflo DataExchange platform installed in RISA was recognized in February 2005 by Washington D.C.’s Integrated Justice Information Systems Institute as one of only four operating projects using the Global Justice XML Data Model standards while facilitating reliable data sharing without additional hardware, reprogramming or training of staff.