In what they call a breakthrough, law enforcement officials in the Washington, D.C., area have created a computer system that will allow more than 60 state and local police agencies to share mug shots and crime reports, reports the Washington post. TheLaw Enforcement Information Exchange (LInX), functions like a Google system for police. “We are as excited about LInX as we were about DNA and automated fingerprints,” said Arlington, Va., Police Chief M. Douglas Scott. Before the system came online, agencies had to call or visit other departments to get information on suspects. “It was just sort of fishing in the dark,” said Ed Buice of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.
The $2.7 million spent on the system has come from the naval service and the Department of Homeland Security. It includes 6 million police mug shots and 14 million crime reports. Starting next year, the departments of Justice and Homeland Security also will participate. Similar systems have been set up in six other areas of the U.S. where the Navy has a presence. Jim Dempsey of the nonprofit Center for Democracy and Technology said it made sense for law enforcement officials to use computer systems to share information. He said there has been a profusion of databases, with little coordination on building a national system. “Where’s the plan? Shouldn’t you have a master plan, and shouldn’t you know where you’re going, and shouldn’t you have buy-in from DHS and FBI and DOJ?” he said. “It sounds like they’re asking for a turf war, which is the last thing we need.”