While larger agencies are more likely to utilize computers for data retrieval as well as communications, the smaller agencies lag behind (p.25). Third, data sharing among agencies at all levels has become a critical component of an effective and efficient system. Again, there needs to be a focus on funding and "substantial federal assistance for technology enhancement" aimed at the smaller local agencies that may lag behind in this area (p.26). Fourth, advances in technology have made the recognition of individuals increasingly possible and important. Biometrics such as face recognition or iris scans can serve to discourage false identities and uncover deceptive practices.
2.) The ability and need to share information between the various agencies, from the federal level to the local, is a key factor in maximizing the efficiency of the system. Information sharing serves to insure that the information available is comprehensive, current, and complete. Information sharing serves a number of vital functions such as eliminating redundant processes and procedures, and identifying patterns in criminal or terrorist activity. These functions make law enforcement more efficient and the elimination of redundant activities can be a cost saving process. A key consideration for information sharing is the cost of system, which includes installation and maintenance. In addition, as with all technology based products, it may have a relatively short life span. In the past, systems such as the Wide Area Network (WAN) and Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISS) have been used with success in numerous locations (Russo and Labriola, 2003, p.31). The major drawback to these systems has traditionally been their reliance on large amounts of computer and networking hardware that incurred a significant cost (Russo and Labriola, 2003, p.31).
Russo and Labriola (2003) suggest the use of a Virtual Private Network (VPN) as a means to emulate a Local Area Network (LAN), Intranet, or WAN at a fraction of the cost. Because the VPN utilizes the existing Internet structure, it is easy install and operate. In essence, the VPN is a highly secure Internet connection, and most facilities already have the equipment required to establish a VPN. In addition, modern encryption techniques can assure the safety of the data and can "shift many aspects of community policing from a reactive to a proactive mode" (Russo and Labriola, 2003, p.31).
3.) A community must continually evaluate the threats that they are exposed to, and constantly update their relationship to these threats. Flynt and Olin (2003) have developed a threat assessment model that can provide a cursory assessment for use by communities and organizations. The Flynt and Olin (2003) model uses a Venn diagram to illustrate whether the relevant threats are being adequately addressed. Plotting the threats, and the policy response, will reveal if all threats are being adequately addressed, as well as if threats are being addressed that do not exist (Flynt and Olin, 2003, p. 35).
The model uses three colors, red, blue, and gray to indicate the threats, the self, and the environment. The threats would include known threats and threat actors. These threats need to be analyzed in regards to their "motive, means, methods, and mission" (Flynt and Olin, 2003, p.36). This will help managers develop a greater understanding of the threat and how the self will address the threat. The