In law enforcement, achieving investigative success is a process that can be measured in many different ways. One of the most critical stages in this process is the analytical stage, the stage in which intelligence is mined, disseminated, prioritized, and eventually relayed to the investigator.
Training—and understanding—two different mindsets is a two-way street once an agency makes the decision to work with an RTCC utilizing tactical analysts.With this in view, the law enforcement partner should also gain a better understanding as to the role of the tactical analyst; primarily, what the tactical analyst brings to the table in terms of being an asset to the investigative process.
In the following, Glenn Grana gives his thoughts on teaching:
Coming from a law enforcement background made it easier for me to walk into a classroom of seasoned investigators and suggest to them they include the use of a tactical analyst in their investigative process. Since I came from the same world as them, [that] brought some credibility to my reasoning; however, even with that I found some of the more tenured investigators still expressing reservations about relying on a civilian analyst as they worked a case.
The comment I heard most was, “I like to knock on my own doors and gather my own intelligence.” To which my response would always be, “I want you to knock on your own doors, too; however, the tactical analyst is there to help narrow down the number of doors you need to knock on.”
Then, I state it very simply: the main reason to include a tactical analyst in your investigation is to
- 1 Decrease the amount of time spent working on preliminary investigations
- 2 Increase proactive time working on the investigation. I emphasize that less office time equals more time in the field.
I further point out that the tactical analyst is an investigative aide, if you will, an extension of the investigative process that, if used correctly, can help keep you—the investigator—in the field as the analyst on the intelligence side follows up on leads developed in the field.
As long as the relationship between the analyst and investigator is a collaborative effort, the flow of information between the two should be a fluid process that helps create a level of trust between them.
Introducing the sworn side to the skill set of the analyst and the resources the analyst has at his or her disposal goes a long way toward building that trusting relationship. I find that establishing a presentation that illustrates the abilities of the analyst, which I combine with the resources they utilize [together] with case studies and success stories, will show the sworn side the value the analyst brings to investigations. The goal is to have the investigators come away with a confident understanding of what the analyst can do, how the analyst understands the investigative process, and the value he or she brings to their investigations.
Case Study: A Murdered Gang Member
The tactical analyst was contacted by homicide investigators regarding the homicide of a known gang member. The victim was shot with a sawed-off shotgun in the parking lot of an apartment building.
The analyst was advised that the suspect drove a red Mercedes Benz and was given a license plate number.The analyst ran the plate through a vehicle registration database and found it to be registered to a female. However, the suspect was male.
The analyst also learned that the suspect was known by a nickname on the streets. More importantly, the analyst was given a possible first name of the suspect. The analyst data mined the nickname, the actual first name, and the vehicle license plate through a database that mines from multiple data resources.The search yielded 660 results.
Understanding that a homicide investigation has its best percentage of success within the first 48 hours of when the crime was first committed, and based on her training and knowledge of the investigative process, the analyst was able to rapidly sift through the 660 results and quickly locate a documented traffic stop of the suspected vehicle.
This traffic stop occurred in a town that adjoined the jurisdiction where the murder was being investigated. The analyst also discovered that on that particular vehicle traffic stop, a male was arrested; the first name he gave matched the first name she was given that might belong to the murder suspect.
After reviewing the traffic stop arrest report, the analyst now had a first and last name to research. The analyst discovered that the person arrested in the traffic stop was currently in a street gang, as was the homicide victim, and that this newly identified male also matched the physical description of the suspect.
This intelligence, along with a photo of the now-identified male, was sent to the homicide investigators. Utilizing the intelligence given to them by the analyst, the investigators created a photo array. Included in that photo array was the photo of the male the tactical analyst sent to the investigators. That male was positively identified as the shooter by multiple witnesses.
The collaborative effort between the homicide investigators and the tactical analyst, along with the timeliness of the suspect information being relayed, data mined, and sent back as actionable intelligence, resulted in the identification of an originally unknown murder suspect within five hours of the murder being committed. Furthermore, the tactical analyst was now viewed as a viable asset to the homicide unit, and as a result, her position was permanently assigned to homicide to work exclusively within that unit.