Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Poughkeepsie Gets It

Good practice in Poughkeepsie:

When different police departments talk to each other, it's bad news for the bad guys.

The Field Intelligence Group is an unofficial association of about two dozen police officers, probation and parole officers and other law enforcement officials from the various departments in Dutchess and Ulster counties.

They meet weekly and stay in contact constantly, using text messaging and e-mail to alert each other of crimes and trends and work together on cases that cross jurisdictions.

Information they share include descriptions of suspects or crimes. These days it does not take long to distribute surveillance video to all the police agencies in the area.

"You'd be surprised how many times we get video of something and we send it out, and you'll get three or four calls within a few hours ... saying, 'Hey, I know him,' " said Detective Erik Lindmark, field intelligence officer for the Town of Poughkeepsie Police Department.

Dutchess' Field Intelligence Group was born out of tragedy. After Sept. 11, 2001, a lack of communication between different federal agencies was blamed for not preventing the attacks. A lack of communication between the New York City police and fire departments was blamed for further loss of life that day.

Deputy Sheriff Stephen Reverri, the field intelligence officer representing the Dutchess County Sheriff's Office, said Sept. 11 shed light on the importance of communication on the local level, as well.

"Information wasn't being shared, and we saw it on a local level dealing with common criminals," Reverri said.
Share information. Preserve civil liberties. Protect the public. It works. And ... it's free!
The group has no budget; it relies on individual agencies allowing their officers the time to participate.

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