State, local, and tribal (SLT) law enforcement agencies play a critical role in securing the homeland, and understanding and improving the intelligence practices of these agencies will enhance public safety. Better intelligence must be collected, analyzed, and shared, but little is known about the intelligence practices of SLT agencies. The grantee has designed a research plan that will accomplish two objectives: 1) Identify the major obstacles of effective intelligence gathering and information sharing; and 2) Identify best practices for integrating domestic intelligence into the information sharing environment. This proposal outlines a 24- month evaluation to better understand the role of SLT agencies in providing intelligence to fight the war on terrorism and identify best practices to improve the current state of information sharing in the United States. The research will examine the experiences of SLT agencies for building an intelligence capacity, and will identify strategies that appear to be successful in increasing the information flow across agencies and the reliability of intelligence provided by SLT law enforcement agencies.
There are two elements to the research plan: 1) a national survey of SLT agencies with two different samples. (The first sample is involved in establishing state fusion centers. This sample is critically involved in building the state-level intelligence infrastructure. The second sample will be line-level officers charged with building an intelligence capacity in different sized agencies in all regions of the country) and 2) Four case studies. The data collection strategy will be to compile and analyze open source documents, and then conduct interviews with key informants. The focus will be on examining how local, street-level intelligence is managed and brought into the intelligence process to prevent terrorist incidents.
The results will provide significant value for policymakers, practitioners, and researchers. It will detail obstacles that currently exist, and tap into a wealth of knowledge on best practices and solutions to critical intelligence and information sharing issues. This knowledge could also be used to develop training curriculum for improving intelligence sharing among SLT law enforcement agencies, and ultimately will improve the intelligence process in the United States.