Fusion centers play a unique role in protecting their communities, informing decision making, and enhancing information sharing activities among law enforcement and homeland security partners. The DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A) helps the National Network of Fusion Centers to develop and implement their capabilities by leading federal interagency efforts to share information and products, conduct training, deploy personnel, and provide connectivity to classified and unclassified systems. These 2011 success stories and best practices illustrate the value of the national network of fusion centers in preventing, protecting against, and responding to criminal and terrorist threats.
Fusion Centers in Georgia and Virginia Collaborate to Solve Murder of Young Child
Multiple Fusion Centers, December 2011
In December of 2011, a young child was reported missing from an apartment complex in northern Georgia. After the Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) identified a suspect in the case, the GBI analysts assigned to the Georgia Information Sharing & Analysis Center (GISAC), the Georgia Fusion Center, began developing information on the suspect. Upon determining that the subject had previously lived in Virginia, the GISAC contacted the Virginia Fusion Center and requested a check on the subject. The Virginia Fusion Center responded with an update that the suspect had previously been the subject of a local police report. Based on this information, the GISAC was able to request the full report from local Virginia authorities and GBI Special Agents were sent to Virginia to re-interview the complainant documented in the report. Shortly thereafter, the subject was arrested and charged with murdering the child. This example demonstrates the importance of connectivity across the National Network of Fusion Centers, which provided investigators with critical information in real-time that they otherwise would not have been able to access.
Fusion Center Provides Critical Information to International and Federal Partners Contributing to Arrest of Armed Suspects
Alaska Information and Analysis Center (AKIAC), October 2011
In October 2011, the Alaska Information and Analysis Center (AKIAC) issued an Officer Safety Bulletin informing state law enforcement of two potentially violent individuals believed to be illegally armed and possibly departing the state for Canada. This bulletin was informed by information provided by the Alaska Joint Terrorism Task Force. Leveraging liaisons with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, a partnership with the U.S. Border Patrol Blaine Sector Intelligence Unit, and local Anchorage U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) contacts, the AKIAC ensured that the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) received this information and was on alert. As a result, CBSA conducted a high-risk inspection of the suspect’s vehicle at the Beaver Creek Port of Entry, discovering a weapon. The suspect was denied entry, turned around, stopped at the CBP checkpoint, and arrested by the Alaska State Troopers.
Fusion Center Contributes to Decrease in Auto Theft
Colorado Information Analysis Center, October 2011
Auto theft prevention has become a top priority in Colorado, given that it can be a “transitional crime” because stolen cars are often used in kidnappings, bank robberies, drug deliveries and other violent felonies. Of the nearly 31,000 auto-theft cases in Colorado in the past five years, 75 percent involved another crime including murder, robbery, assault and sexual assault. The Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC) worked with the Colorado State Patrol to create and staff Colorado’s Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC). ATICC analysts have worked to analyze existing auto theft data to produce products for law enforcement officers in Colorado and surrounding states. The CIAC has gathered, analyzed, and distributed data to local law enforcement to help identify stolen cars and potentially prevent thefts. These efforts as well as partnerships with 10 statewide task forces have helped put the number of auto thefts in Colorado below the national average. ATICC is funded by a grant from the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority, which is funded by a flat fee assessed on automobile insurance policies in Colorado. The goal of the partnership is to gather and analyze data in order to support local police departments with intelligence products and proposed countermeasures to prevent auto theft and related crimes.
Fusion Center Supports Apprehension of Armed and Dangerous Fugitives
Colorado Information Analysis Center, August 2011
In August 2011, three armed-and-dangerous siblings known as the Dougherty Gang were sighted in Colorado Springs. The FBI asked the Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC) to share intelligence across the state of Colorado to facilitate their search for the subjects. The FBI representative at the CIAC developed a “Be on the Look Out” (BOLO) alert for immediate distribution to Colorado law enforcement and the National Network of Fusion Centers. This alert, along with photographs of the subjects, was coordinated with the media for public dissemination; soon afterward, local law enforcement received a tip that the Doughertys were spotted in a rural area of southern Colorado. Members from the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement located the Doughertys there and took them into custody. Additional detail about the CIAC’s role in supporting this effort is located at: Fusion Center Supports Apprehension of Armed and Dangerous Fugitives.
Fusion Center Supports Federal Partners through the Use of Facial Recognition Queries
Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center, January 2011 and June 2011
In February 2010, the United States Marshals Service (USMS) contacted the Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center (PaCIC) to obtain assistance in locating an individual wanted for several felony offenses. After exhausting all available leads, PaCIC was unable to locate the fugitive. In January 2011, the USMS contacted PaCIC again to request any updated information regarding the fugitive. PaCIC analysts used the fugitive’s operator license photograph to initiate a query through their facial recognition tools and found a matching image in the database, but under a different name. Using the new alias, PaCIC queried various databases and identified a previously unknown address for the individual. This information was provided to the USMS, who subsequently apprehended the fugitive.
The United States Secret Service (USSS) and local law enforcement agencies in Pennsylvania, Delaware, and New Jersey investigated a series of thefts by deception/identify theft during which over $300,000 was taken from numerous victims and financial institutions. In spite of the concerted investigative efforts of numerous agencies over a six-month period, the suspect was not identified. In June 2011, a municipal police detective forwarded several surveillance images of the suspect to the Pennsylvania Criminal Intelligence Center (PaCIC) to see if they could assist. Within two hours of receiving the images, PACIC utilized facial recognition software to find a match within the image database. Following the match, PaCIC forwarded the information to the USSS who subsequently filed charges in connection with the investigation.
Fusion Center is Instrumental in the Arrest of an Attempted Bombing Suspect
Colorado Information Analysis Center, June 2011
In June 2011, the Lakewood, Colo. Police Department received information that an individual had placed two improvised explosive devices at a Borders book store at the Colorado Mills Mall. Due to the nature of the crime, the Lakewood Police Department notified the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) of the incident, who in turn activated the Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF). The JTTF and Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF) agents responded to the scene and began collecting information, which they passed to the Colorado Information Analysis Center (CIAC). A few hours later, the CIAC sent information to fusion centers nationwide and Terrorism Liaison Officers (TLO) statewide, requesting information that may relate to the incident. Less than 15 minutes after this information was sent to Colorado TLOs, the CIAC received vital information from a State Trooper that 24 hours earlier the suspect had crashed his vehicle and was taken into custody for Felony Menacing and Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol. After receiving the information from the CIAC, the arresting officer believed the suspect he arrested was also the suspect in the book store bombing attempt. Concurrently, and while the investigation was still active, the CIAC received another lead from a different TLO which linked the suspect to yet another device that partially detonated near a hotel that was a short distance from the book store. The CIAC in turn passed this information to the FBI JTTF to further support the investigation. The suspect was held on charges stemming from the incident.