Intelligence-led Policing in Homeland Security
Post-9/11, law enforcement in the U.S. has undergone some necessary changes. There is a shift in focus towards homeland security, counterterrorism, and intelligence, forcing many police forces to adopt new standards and procedures of law enforcement. One of these new adaptations is the previously euro-centric practice of Intelligence-led Policing (ILP).
ILP is an approach to law enforcement that focuses on the collection and analysis of intelligence for preventative and goal-oriented policing, deviating from the investigation-led policing that has become the norm in the U.S. ILP targets trends and sources of multiple and/or repeated crimes rather than reacting to individual crimes with investigation, arrest and prosecution. This approach is most effective against incidents of repeated or organized crime such as terrorist activities, gang-related crime, and RICO (organized crime/racketeering) cases.
From a homeland security perspective, ILP is of the utmost importance in this new age of counter-terrorism and preventative policing. Many agencies within the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security are using intelligence teams to pursue ILP as a means for achieving mission success. One good example of ILP today can be seen in the development of fusion centers, which combine the capabilities of local, state, and federal law enforcement for a cooperative intelligence initiative. In Texas, along the southwest border with Mexico, the U.S. launched Operation Border Star, combining the intelligence capabilities of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and local and state Texas police forces to track and prevent illegal immigration and crimes along the border. This initiative used ILP to effectively and drastically lower crime in areas along the Texas-Mexico border.
However, as budget allows, it is imperative that more state and local law enforcement forces begin gaining the technology, training, and personnel to contribute to inter-agency intelligence operations. Currently, the largest hindrance to the success of ILP operations is a lack of continuity between different agencies and departments. Only through an intentional commitment of resources to these efforts will U.S. law enforcement forces see tangible and repeated returns on the investment in ILP across the board. The approach has worked in Europe for years, and it is already proving successful in the U.S. agencies that employ it.
Funding and training should continue to be directed towards Intelligence-led Policing in a world where resources are tight in the fight against terrorism.