Information-sharing in Arizona improved with CHDS thesis

As veteran law enforcement technology professional Bill Kalaf retired in 2014 he was able to witness a portion of his Center for Homeland Defense and Security thesis applied to state policy in Arizona that helps local, state and tribal police departments to better share information.

As a result, the Arizona Legislature passed House Bill 2591, which creates a Joint Powers Public Safety Committee responsible for overseeing the sharing of technology and information among police organizations in the state.

“The objective is to facilitate collaboration, standardization, and shared costs necessary to support information sharing across police departments,” noted Kalaf, a 2010 CHDS graduate.

1) Previously, information sharing took place across jurisdictions and information was only accessible through phone calls, visiting agencies, faxing or emails. The new legislation provides for electronically sharing information. Information is also available from states outside of Arizona. More than 43 million records are now available from over 172 different data sources.

“All this information can be accessed down to the patrol officer,” Kalaf said. “Having this information at the right time to make the right decisions benefits the public in fighting crime faster and provides for improved officer safety.”

Under the legislation, a Joint Public Powers Safety Committee (JPPSC) with a board of directors will oversee information-sharing and the associated technology throughout Arizona. The communications medium has not been established as of today.  However, the JPPSC board and its members will determine the bylaws and communication strategies across agencies.

In September 2014 the first organizational meeting was held at the Mesa Police Department, from where Kalaf recently retired as director of Intelligence-Led Policing. The leadership team established the board of directors and will be meeting in 2015 to establish the bylaws, and set a strategic direction.

“The next step is to expand legislation to look at the operational structure necessary to carry out the direction set by the JPPSC and the State,” Kalaf said.

2) The bill represents the second time Kalaf has seen elements of his CHDS thesis, “Arizona Law Enforcement Biometrics Identification and Information Sharing Technology Framework,” find their way into public policy. A mobile fingerprinting system also stemmed from his master’s degree research.

In 2012, a consortium of Phoenix area law enforcement agencies participated in a pilot program using bio-metric fingerprinting.

This program used a device called “MorpholDent,” a handheld product that enables officers to better ascertain suspects’ identities rather than relying on traditional forms of identification that can be falsified. The following year the Mesa Police Department ordered a full slate of the devices and began using them regularly.

3) In September 2014 the first organizational meeting was held at the Mesa Police Department, from where Kalaf recently retired as director of Intelligence-Led Policing. The leadership team established the board of directors and will be meeting in 2015 to establish the bylaws, and set a strategic direction

“The next step is to expand legislation to look at the operational structure necessary to carry out the direction set by the JPPSC and the State,” Kalaf said.

Though he retired in September, Kalaf remains engaged in law enforcement policy by continuing to track legislation related to his thesis. He credits CHDS for an education that also opened up a network of public safety contacts across the country he could call upon for feedback and research. He is currently working on a legislative measure aimed at reinforcing the JPPC.

“I am still in contact with many of my resources and sharing new ideas for the future,” he said. “In addition, my thesis is the foundation for what is being developed here in Arizona. Writing my thesis allowed me to evaluate the successes in other states and gave me the incentive to continue my work.”


Associated file: Arizona Law Enforcement Biometrics Identification and Information Sharing Technology Framework

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