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Friday, March 25, 2016

GIS Data Initiatives

Should the federal government support GIS data initiatives of local police and law enforcement agencies? Why? How would this benefit or deter law enforcement efforts?

The federal government should consider the support of GIS data initiatives as a component of the technological support currently provided to local agencies. GIS personnel slotted for law enforcement can aid in the emergency response function of homeland security. David Allen, with the Texas Emergency GIS Response Team, explains the versatility of GIS technology. Because GIS applications can use pre-configured templates corresponding to the specific task at hand, a GIS support team can move from jobs such as traffic control to flooding response quickly. Allen gave the example of GIS response to the Dallas Ebola case last year in which GIS personnel from around the state in a variety of agencies responded to the emergency by setting aside their day to day tasks and preparing function-specific maps to coordinate responder activities, from ambulance routes to no-fly zones (2015). Thus, federal support for GIS capability in law enforcement agencies provides additional support for homeland security responsibilities.
As to the law enforcement centered capabilities of GIS, GIS applications can be used in a multitude of police analytic tasks and coordination such as operational awareness, citizen engagement, information integration and management, planning and analysis, and finally, field mobility (Esri, 2012, pp. 2-4). GIS systems can be used for Compstat based programs, for example.

Allen, D. (2015, May).Geographic information systems mapping: Response, availability, and training. Presented at the Texas 2015 Emergency Management Conference. San Antonio, Texas.

Esri. (2012). GIS for law enforcement. Retrieved June 13, 2015 from http://www.esri.com/library/whitepapers/pdfs/gis-for-law-enforcement.pdf

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