Direct from 24: An Intel Center Worthy of its Name

Posted on 26 February 2011 by

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Patrick Ryder

Patrick Ryder demonstrates the front-end of the NCPD Real Time Intelligence program (Photo: Geoffrey Walter, Mineola Patch)

Over the past ten days, David and I have spent a lot of time in agencies across America, and the roadtrip ended in the Nassau County Police Department. There we were introduced to Detective Sergeant Patrick Ryder, who began explaining how the NCPD views intelligence.

Anyone who does work in any industry gets all cringed out when television or films depict their industry. Consider, please, this unfathomably and unintentionally hilarious segment from the show CSI, in which an agent describes … well, I’ll let you figure out what she means by, “I’ll create a GUI interface using Visual Basic… See if I can track an IP address.”

Yes, the world of TV is always really funny, but none more so to me than when it depicts the intelligence centers of police agencies*. So imagine my delight when, on talking with Ryder, he showed us the NCPD’s Real Time Intelligence console.

And it was just like the stuff we see on NCIS. A zipper across the bottom; rotating Wanted posters in the default view, and credit to the arresting officers when a suspect is apprehended.

But the back end of this is far more impressive than the eye-candy. The NCPD is apparently doing some amazing things of exactly the kind that David and I have been advocating. Total data sharing with agencies which choose to participate. Transparency in the analysis products. Correlation, not just aggregation, of data feeds.

And they’re doing it not with rotund, distended budget-busting technology, but using common cop sense and brains.

In future posts, we’ll look at the kinds of things that the NCPD is doing in its RTIC, and how they are doing it. And Pat Ryder has told us that he will join David and me on our podcast in the next several weeks. We hope to speak with him about asset forfeiture and intelligence, as well as standing up an intelligence operation center in your agency without breaking the bank.

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* Actually it’s also really funny when it shows police departments as these high-tech, shiny places with lots of light, loft-like workspaces complete with Swedish-quality industrial chic. My favorite has been the show Chase on NBC, which shows the US Marshals office in Dallas as, well, a high-tech, shiny place with lots of light, loft-like workspaces complete with Swedish-quality industrial chic, and Marshals who dress out of the Banana Republic catalog.