Information-sharing: Ownership is all
Regardless of the complexity wrought by statutes, developing an information sharing enterprise is first constrained by the laws it must keep. Data regulations within the criminal justice arena are not inherently encumbering, but to a greater degree than in any other industry, they are terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect. For good reason, lawmakers have issued strongly worded guidance to system developers, agents, officers and those whose task it is to keep our justice information private and secure. Agencies demanding information-sharing capabilities have only complicated the web of requirements written as the foundation for assuring the information stored in law enforcement data repositories nationwide.
As more and more sharing initiatives spring up, more and more problems will arise. Such problems, whether technical, operational or regulatory in nature, have both stalled and perplexed the criminal justice community. In order to unravel the information-sharing labyrinth, I have approached the concept from a business perspective: high level and top down. From experience and study, it is clear that information sharing initiatives will not come to fruition until ownership is established: A governing body, legitimized and bound under a legal framework, and accredited within the appropriate professional community. From that point forward, decisions made, money spent, and direction given are all based on a common and well defined foundation...