Editor’s Corner article
In one of my early columns, I made the point in that FrontLine needs to look at keeping the general population safe and secure more broadly than we had in the past. Food safety, for example, is important and not just from the perspective of bio-terrorism threats. The animal connection to safety and security was addressed in a prior issue. Manufacturers of safety and security equipment also play an important role through their equipment research and development. Future issues of FrontLine will look at aviation safety and more.
There is a need for us to map out which groups and which people have the information, skills and techniques to contribute to a broad and integrative model of safety and security. In my last column for example, I mentioned the need for the population at large to contribute to safety and security by working with police and, in fact, being their eyes and ears in the community. That sentiment was recently echoed by both U.S. Presidential candidates in the context of reporting on possible terrorist threats.
The mid-October conference for International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) reminded us that Universities and Colleges are very important partners for safety and security. On the first day of the conference, a partnership between IACP’s Institute for Community Police Relations and Howard University was announced to offer a 15-week course called “Policing Inside-Out: Building Trust through Transformative Education.” This program will mix police officers with community members and university students.
Academe has a major role to play in helping develop innovative training programs to address problems that our safety and security members are encountering. They know how to develop innovative pedagogical materials and provide quality training.
Over the past few years, I have been on the advisory committee for the development of an intelligence analysis program which was responding to our intelligence communities’ need for trained analysts. But academe also is able to do the research that helps our safety and security community. Some of this involves developing new theory on safety and security that one day may turn up in practice. Some involves working together to test existing concepts in an effort to build best practices.
At the Telfer’s School of Management, University of Ottawa, as part of the Centre for Business Analytics and Performance, there is an Ottawa Police Services Analytics Program. The program represents a partnership between the Ottawa Police and Telfer in looking at how analytics can help the Ottawa Police Services. Current projects are looking at front line deployment, intelligence-led traffic enforcement and collision data analytics. The partnership is providing the Ottawa Police Services with valuable new tools that they otherwise could not have afforded and testing of new concepts using the skill set of the academics. Professor Greg Richards runs the program at Telfer, and writes about it for us in this edition.
Broader and Deeper
The idea of a more integrative solution though goes beyond just broadening the list of those that need to work together to help keep North Americans safer and more secure, it also involves going deeper.
This is something that has been talked about and written about for a long time. Deeper, for example, is when all those involved in an aspect of safety and security work together to share resources and knowledge. I also refer to this as a vertical.
In this edition, a focus is put on police analytics and the idea of a fusion center – a place that brings together data from the organization running it (the local police) and combining it with data from other police agencies (regional, national, or international as applicable), intelligence agencies and others. It can be even broader than this.
During the 2016 “three amigos summit”, the leaders of Canada, Unites States of America and Mexico discussed the sharing of information between intelligence and security agencies of the three countries for targeted situations. This is an example of deeper. In doing the research for my article on police analytics, I learned how some cities allow police access to their traffic cameras. This, in turn, allows the analytics team to provide support during chases – identifying where the suspected felon is. I even heard talk about access to various corporate cams for even more data.
The idea of an integrative approach means looking broader (more safety and security partners in areas that we did not previous think about, like those responsible for our food chain, corporations developing equipment, scientists working on vaccines against bio-terror, and academics assessing and analyzing policy and outcomes, are just a few examples) and deeper (more people within the particular vertical area working together and sharing information).
Much needs to be done in order to make this integrated approach a reality. For example, there needs to be organizational development in systems – in particular, secure tools for collaboration.
There also needs to be a change in culture. I have worked with enough organizations to know that the “not invented here” stance (not accepting things from the outside), or protectionist “it’s my turf” attitudes interfere with integration and cooperation. This may be an area that academe can help, both in terms of producing the research that proves this is the right way to go, providing the training to change these attitudes and finally the development and testing of systems that would enable the collaboration to happen in a secure environment.
Finally, there will need to be a series of roundtables and workshops both to bring together representatives from the verticals to discuss ways of working together and sharing information, and also to identify the breadth of other sectors that could be involved in this area.
I have seen great examples of this in the innovation area through my involvement as co-chair of the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy’s Economy for Tomorrow series. Through the series we have brought together diverse groups to discuss issues such as innovation, economy, and security. Bringing diverse groups together with appropriate panelists, creates an extraordinary learning experience. More of this needs to happen within safety and security to help action the depth and breadth of integration discussed in this edition of FrontLine.
Jonathan Calof, Executive Editor