Hayes takes local insights to intelligence-led policing

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The Westchester Intelligence Center opened in 2008

William Hayes is taking a chief’s insights to intelligence-led policing.

After five years as chief of the Bedford, New York, Police Department, Hayes has moved to the director’s job at the Westchester Intelligence Center in the New York City suburbs.

“When the opportunity presented itself, I felt that it was a natural progression going from chief of police to serving law enforcement on a regional level,” said Hayes, who has been in law enforcement since 1986. “I’m a strong believer in the value of intelligence-led policing, and the Westchester Intelligence Center is built around that core philosophy.”

The WIC opened in 2008 with 43 local police agencies participating as well as each of the multi-jurisdictional police agencies operating in Westchester County and an analyst with the New York/New Jersey High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

With its proximity to the city, the community is home to a large commuting workforce and has a wealth of road, rail and waterway transportation infrastructure. Criminal rings and gangs also transit the county necessitating a close working relationship with counterparts in New York City.

In addition to the transportation infrastructure, the area includes a commercial airport, nuclear power plant, a network of reservoirs that supply New York City’s drinking water, and numerous Fortune 500 companies.

“I understand the needs of local police departments and how important it is to have the resources of the intelligence center available to support local operations,” Hayes said. “As director of the center, I’m able to look at what we do through the eyes of our law enforcement customers and ensure that what we produce is what they need.”

The main focus of the WIC is data collection and analysis geared toward traditional infractions and Hayes believes it is important not to separate crime from homeland security intelligence. CHDS has taught him fighting crime reduces social harm, which improves community resilience necessary to improving homeland security, he noted.

“By taking a broad view and being proactive about crime, it is inevitable that local police officers will encounter terrorists in the preoperational phase of operations and discover criminal acts that lead to, or support, terrorist operations” he said. “A number of NPS students have written about this in their theses, and I think they’ve done a great job at establishing the nexus between crime reduction and counterterrorism.”

A member of CHDS master’s degree cohort 1305/1306, Hayes said the education at the Center has already proved valuable. Particularly, he cited Dave Brannan and Anders Strindberg’s course on unconventional threats and its discussion of social identity theory as applicable as well as instructor Sean Everton’s Disrupting Dark Networks class as also relevant to the mission of the WIC.

“Part of our work involves disrupting criminal gangs,” Hayes noted. “As a matter of fact, through a collaborative exchange of ideas, one of our analysts actually downloaded Sean’s book and has found it useful in performing social network analysis.”

Hayes is extending his professional interest with his in-progress thesis, “Case Studies of Predictive Analysis Applications in Law Enforcement.” The research and course work has helped him transition to a new career focus.

I think my experience at CHDS had a direct impact on my suitability for the position and has enabled me to think critically and approach things from a strategic level, rather than a tactical one,” Hayes noted. “I’m able to approach the job with a broader vision, and apply multiple perspectives to solving problems.”

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