Instrumented Interconnecteds Intelligent

Robert Griffin, Vice President, Industry Solutions, IBM Software Group

By Robert Griffin

This week I had the privilege of leading a team of IBMers to engage one of the most important communities we serve as a company — law enforcement.

In San Diego, thousands of police chiefs and public safety leaders from across the globe convened here to attend the 119th Annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference and Law Enforcement Education and Technology Exposition — an event I’ve attended for the last several years while representing private sector ventures, which are now part of IBM.

And in this relatively short period of time, I’ve witnessed the public sector, in partnership with business make great strides to solve Big Data challenges, especially as it relates to information sharing across jurisdictions.

Like other parts of the public sector, police departments continue to face the daily conundrum of having to do more with less - or do more with existing resources - to keep our cities and towns safe. Increasingly, leading-edge cities are looking to software solutions that employ advanced analytics not only to help recognize crime patterns, but even solve crimes. These capabilities help law enforcement deal with some of the age-old goals of crime fighting, like removing criminals from the streets to create safer neighborhoods.  

In my hometown of Tucson, Ariz., for example, a community policing project to restore part of the midtown area in just such a fashion led to a 60 percent reduction in drug-related crime within 18 months. And, it’s important to note that the value of reducing crime doesn’t end with safer streets. Not only do economies perform better when crime goes down – as a recent report from IBM indicates – but police officer safety goes up.   

“Officer safety increases as technology provides enhanced situational awareness for our personnel,” said Tucson Police Chief Roberto A. Villaseñor.

During the conference, law enforcement leaders also discussed how they’ve transformed their public safety operations with effective analytics and data sharing capabilities, such as IBM i2 COPLINK, a database application that consolidates policing data, aids collaboration and helps law enforcement generate leads.  

“The IBM i2 COPLINK system has fundamentally had the most significant impact on law enforcement in the county since we went to a shared/integrated radio system back in the 1970’s,” said Bob McDonell, Executive Director for the Integrated Law & Justice Agency for Orange County, Calif., and Retired Chief of Police for Newport Beach, Calif. “It’s been a game changer.”

Captain Scott Edson, Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, echoed the value and the role that technology is playing in law enforcement today. “We’re seeing success with information sharing because knowledge derived from technology makes it easier to solve a case or prevent a crime tomorrow,” Edson said.

With advanced technology as the backdrop, my team and I discussed newer capabilities that will help take smarter policing even further. Packaged as IBM i2 Intelligent Law Enforcement, these solutions take the COPLINK system to the next level by building in Big Data and analytics to enable law enforcement to:

  • Manage resources effectively for planned operations and tactical response
  • Build policing strategies based on reliable, evidence-based information
  • Leverage analytics in all levels of the policing model making the latest knowledge tools available to everyone in the agency
  • Deliver organizational efficiencies across departments and partner agencies
  • Build data sharing partnerships to overcome organizational and geographical boundaries


I am always humbled by the brave contributions of law enforcement to our society, and always proud to support the important mission of IACP that helps ensure the safety of officers and the communities they protect and serve all over the world.  I can’t think of a more important mission to support. 

Follow Robert Griffin @BobGriffin_PS.

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