THE MAGAZINE

A Model of Intelligence Sharing

By Matthew Harwood

These successes haven’t gone unnoticed. DHS named the CIAC the fusion center of the year for 2009. The CIAC also regularly shares its concept of operations plans, privacy policy, and other procedural documents with newly established fusion centers. “We share everything,” says Leffler.

In 2010, the CIAC hosted the Texas Fusion Center, the San Diego Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center, and the North Florida Fusion Center Exchange to share its expertise, develop stronger relationships, and learn about other fusion center processes. It’s that sense of solidarity that makes the CIAC such a valued member of the fusion center community.

“The CIAC has demonstrated exemplary capabilities that support the fusion process, not only in Colorado but in working with their partners across the National Network of Fusion Centers,” says Scott F. McAllister, director of the State and Local Program Office within the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis. “We are especially appreciative that the CIAC has shared its best practices and lessons learned with fusion centers across the country.”

Next Steps

With the threat of terrorism sliding from people’s consciousness and the budget crunch threatening many government services, Coloradans began to question the necessity of the CIAC. In response, the CIAC had to prove it wasn’t simply a counterterrorism resource. “Local chiefs and sheriffs wanted us to move toward an all-crimes focus,” explains Garcia.

But rather than bite off more than the CIAC could chew, the fusion center was determined to choose a particular problem it could bring its analytical expertise and value to. “We needed to find a crime to develop the foundations, the way we did with the TLO program, to move towards this all-crimes [focus],” Garcia says. “The crime we picked was auto-theft because there was a funding mechanism in place for it.”

Immediately the CIAC discovered that there were various auto-theft task forces doing the same thing without sharing intelligence and coordinating with each other. In an effort to create an information-sharing network to link all auto-theft investigators across the state, the CIAC created the Auto Theft Intelligence Coordination Center (ATICC). CIAC leadership believed auto theft was the appropriate crime to begin the center’s analytical expansion because it’s a “cascading,” or gateway, crime, according to Garcia. “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,” notes DHS.

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