Accomplishments for Core Goal #2: Intelligence/Information Sharing
Intelligence and Information Sharing
The homeland security mission must be integrated into the daily operations of departments and agencies, intelligence and information sharing at the state fusion center has been shifted from “terrorism only” to “all crimes.” Following are key projects and accomplishments:
- In 2007, the MCAC broadened its focus from “terrorism only” to “all crimes” to better assist local law enforcement and protect Maryland residents.
- Created a “hub and spoke” model with three Regional Information Centers to feed information from local law enforcement agencies to the State’s intelligence fusion center. In 2008, the MCAC created three Regional Information Centers (RICs) on the Eastern Shore, Western, and Southern Maryland regions to provide a closer working relationship with local law enforcement and focus on regional and local public safety issues and concerns.
- Beginning in 2008, the MCAC has doubled and maintained the number of personnel at Maryland’s intelligence fusion center, with 33 different state, local, and federal agencies now represented. Since 2008, the MCAC has had approximately 87 law enforcement officers and analysts from 33 state, local, and federal agencies on-site, including 11 analysts from the Maryland State Police Homeland Security and Intelligence Division. This level of law enforcement agency representation makes the MCAC one of the largest and most diverse intelligence fusion centers in the nation. Additionally, the MCAC has renovated their existing space to eliminate cubicles to enable better information sharing between analysts.
- Producing a Daily Shooting Report on statewide homicides and shootings for law enforcement leadership throughout the State. This report includes incident narratives and updates, victim and suspect intelligence, and total YTD figures for homicides, female and juvenile victims, total shooting victims, and aggravated assault victims.
- The Majority Staff Report on the National Network of Fusion Centers, issued by the House Committee on Homeland Security in July 2013 cited the MCAC as a best practice example for their regional partnerships in Suspicious Activity Reporting. The report highlighted the regional partnership of the four fusion centers covering the National Capital Region (NCR) – the Virginia Fusion Center, Northern Virginia Regional Intelligence Center, Washington Regional Threat and Analysis Center, and the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center – to publish a monthly SAR awareness report for the entire NCR.
- Starting in 2013, the MCAC began producing Fire/EMS/Emergency Management Monthly Information Sharing Bulletins that are distributed to entities across the region that are outside of the law enforcement community, such as the fire, emergency medical services, and public health sectors.
- The MCAC began producing and sharing mapping tools for the MCAC intelligence analysts and other state and local law enforcement agencies, including gang maps, critical infrastructure maps, suspicious activity reports, and other criminal data analysis. The MCAC added several on-site GIS analysts to provide mapping resources as needed to the intelligence analysts.
- The MCAC’s Watch Division serves as the 24/7 arm of the MCAC and provides assistance to local law enforcement. The Watch Division is staffed by detailed officers from State and local law police departments and responds to all TIPS line calls, which often include Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) and Requests for Services (RFSs) from local, state, or federal law enforcement agencies. In 2013 the MCAC processed 13,507 Requests for Service (RFS) from 224 different federal, state and local agencies. In addition, the MCAC received 428 Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR’s) and reviewed 4,084 pass through documents for any MD nexus. The Watch Division also disseminates multiple types of law enforcement alerts and notifications – Be-On-the-Look-Out (BOLO) notices, Amber and Silver alerts, DHS intelligence reports, etc. – through its distribution lists.
- Deployed 415 License Plate Readers (LPR) to 69 state, federal or local law enforcement throughout Maryland, including 99 fixed LPR cameras that monitor key critical infrastructure facilities and major transportation routes. License Plate Readers provide law enforcement agencies with real-time information on wanted or missing persons, stolen vehicles, and other criminal or terrorist-related intelligence. In addition, historical LPR data can help law enforcement with protecting the public and investigating crimes.
- 78 percent (323) of Maryland’s LPRs are connected to a central database to form a shared data network for criminal and counter-terrorist investigations. Law enforcement officers and Criminal intelligence analysts at the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center (MCAC), the State’s intelligence fusion center, use this data to assist law enforcement agencies with criminal investigations or for public safety, especially Amber or Silver Alerts. During 2013, the MCAC received over 1,089 requests from local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies for LPR data. In order to ensure that privacy protections regarding LPR usage are in place across the entire state, Senate Bill 699 was signed into law in 2014. The legislation prohibits Maryland law enforcement agencies from using captured plate data unless the agency has a legitimate law enforcement purpose; establishes that information gathered by an automatic license plate reader system is not subject to disclosure under the Maryland Public Information Act; requires law enforcement agencies to report on LPRs annually to the General Assembly beginning in 2016; and requires the creation of strong audit policies.