THIS BLOG is NOW RETIRED

I began this blog in May 2009 following the death of Marcia Powell at Perryville State Prison in Goodyear, Arizona. It is not intended to prescribe the path that leads to freedom from the prison industrial complex.

Rather, these are just my observations in arguably the most racist, fascist, militaristic state in the nation at a critical time in history for a number of intersecting liberation movements. From Indigenous resistance to genocidal practices, to the fight over laws like SB1070 and the ban on Ethnic Studies, Arizona is at the center of many battles for human rights, and thus the struggle for prison abolition as well - for none are free until all are. I retired the blog in APRIL 2013.

Visit me now at Arizona Prison Watch or Survivors of Prison Violence-AZ

David Rovics: We Are Everywhere

To my fellow activists now struggling through life - let this be a reminder that you are not alone and that we desperately need you here. All the injustice, grief, war, and human suffering calls for us to stay and do everything we can about it - you can't help us anymore when you're gone. Don't give up the fight - your last shred of hope may just keep someone else alive, too.
BLOG POSTS

Saturday, August 29, 2009

East Valley Fusion Center


Nathan Gonzalez - Aug. 28, 2009 09:06 AM
The Arizona Republic
 
At first glance, the three people huddled around a computer inside the East Valley Fusion Center seem unremarkable, but they are a part of growing trend in regional law enforcement .

The three - officers with the Arizona Department of Public Safety, Tempe and Scottsdale police - are combing over layers of maps and spreadsheets of crime information seeking patterns of Valley crime.
The computers inside the East Valley Gang and Criminal Information Fusion Center provide the detectives access to crime data and police reports from nine member agencies.
And since coming online Sept. 1, 2007, Mesa Police Sgt. Lance Heivilin said the capabilities of the center and its ability to search and manipulate various crime data have only grown.
"Our first year we were involved in about 200 cases," Heivilin said. "In 2008, it was 800 investigations. This year we passed our 2008 numbers in July."
That means they have already analyzed nearly 1,000 cases to find connections between crimes that occur throughout the Southeast Valley and hopefully lead to quicker arrests.
The center is comprised of six police agencies, including Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Scottsdale and Tempe. Also involved in the center are the U.S. Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Arizona Department of Corrections/Parole and the Maricopa County Probation office.
Each police agency staffs one detective at the center, which is housed Mesa police headquarters in a room with several desktop computers, flat-panel TVs and a touch-screen smart board that can connect different agencies for live briefings throughout the Valley.
The center provides partnering agencies with bi-weekly crime reports, along with various crime bulletins and real-time suspect or location information for in-progress incidents.
From inside the center, law enforcement officials search scores of police reports kept in databases at other agencies.
Should police officials find a link among crimes - for example if a string of robberies in Mesa is tied to those in Tempe and Phoenix -center staffers can put detectives working those cases in other agencies in contact with each other.
"Our job is to be that communication point," Heivilin said. "We don't take over the investigation, we bring everyone together."
The center was integral in a case involving several thousands of dollars of commercial thefts on the Salt River Community. The investigation eventually led to an arrest of a suspect in Maine.
In another case, Chandler police were notified of a serial robber they tracked to California. Detectives later received an arrest warrant and brought the fugitive back to face charges.
The center is always looking for various technological software upgrades that allow greater capabilities to search crime records, Heivilin said. One such program, COPLINK, a police report search engine, links Mesa and Gilbert police to Orange County, Calif.
 
"It's been effective as an intelligence resource," said Sgt. Mark Marino, a Gilbert police spokesman. "It opens doors for all agencies that previously weren't as accessible."
Participating in the program has offered Gilbert detectives speedier access to crime information and allows agencies additional opportunities to collaborate on related cases, Marino said.
The idea for the center came from former Mesa Police Chief George Gascón, and Heivilin said it has become more efficient as it continues to link with other regional centers.
"I really believe this is a national model for what can be done on the local level," Heivilin said.
While the center passes its two-year mark in operation, Mesa interim police chief Vicki Myers said she's pleased with how quickly it has become a useful tool for agencies throughout the Valley.
"I see the possibilities of the Fusion Center and the potential that's there for it to grow and become bigger," she said. "Different agencies (nationwide) come in to look at and learn from our Fusion Center and what it's done for us."
"I'm a big believer in regionalization" policing, Myers said.

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