It is fall, so it must be conference season. From September through October, members of the PRISM team will be in various locations across the country. Last week, three members of the PRISM team were in Omaha for the SMILE Conference. As we have a great relationship with law enforcement agencies, we thought it was pertinent to share some of the major takeaways from #smilecon.
Law Enforcement Agencies are Successfully Using Social Media
For those of you who are not familiar with SMILE, it is a conference at which law enforcement agencies network with one another and share best practices regarding the use of social media in law enforcement, from both a marketing and investigative perspective. It allows these agencies to learn new, innovative ways to harness the power of social media to build relationships with the community and combat crime. Throughout the conference, many speakers discussed how their agencies are successfully using social media to keep tabs on known offenders, curtail gang activity, monitor events, respond to disasters, and conduct undercover investigations. Officer Eric Draeger of the Milwaukee Police Department spoke about his department’s success doing a multitude of those things at once: They successfully use social media to disrupt gang activity and prevent incidents from occurring at large public gatherings.
Data Fusion is Imperative
As we wrote about from our experience at the i2 User Conference, agencies are integrating a variety of data sources into their process. With the proliferation of social media activity, law enforcement agencies now understand the fundamental need to incorporate social media data into their day-to-day operations. Social media records are now combined with traditional investigative data to conduct more thorough investigations. At SMILE, many agencies reported impressive results using social media information in their investigative processes.
Tools are a Must
In order to conduct social media monitoring and investigations, law enforcement agencies need tools. Nearly every presenter at SMILE was using some form of tool to assist them with the investigative process. The amount of readily available social media data is unfathomable and can be extremely overwhelming. Investigators and analysts must rely on tools to assist them with harvesting, processing, and analyzing social media data. Otherwise, they would be inundated with records and have difficulty making timely analyses.
Every time we go to a conference, we learn something new that allows us to improve our products and services for our clients. SMILE was no exception. We have been following trends of the use of social media, embracement of data fusion, and need for social media tools in law enforcement for some time now. It is one of the main reasons we developed PRISM. Both the i2 User Conference and SMILE reinforced our use of social media, data fusion, and PRISM in our investigative process.