RISS Insider
Summer 2015

A Word From the RNPG Chair – The Year in Review
Photo of Don Kennedy

A year has passed since the RISS Directors launched the new RISS logo. The development of the logo was a collaborative effort among members of the six RISS Centers, the RISS Technology Support Center, and the RISS Outreach Committee. The logo symbolizes the program’s unity and far-reaching impact. It illustrates how the program works in unison, serving our regions and nationwide efforts, to increase and strengthen information sharing and officer safety.

The ideas behind the logo embody all that RISS strives to be-a proven resource for law enforcement. Thinking back on 2014 and all that RISS and its partners achieved, I am proud to say that RISS exceeded this goal. The most recent publication of the RISS Annual Report summarizes RISS’s major accomplishments, explains the various resources and services available, highlights shared successes submitted by partner agencies and officers, lists many of RISS’s performance metrics, and looks ahead to the future.

In addition, in 2014, RISS developed the RISS Adaptive Strategy, which combines a traditional strategic plan with an ongoing adaptive evaluation process. The RISS Adaptive Strategy contains six high-level goals: Information Sharing, Investigative Support, Officer Safety, Partnerships, Professional Excellence, and Advanced Technology. These goals serve as the foundation for this year’s annual report, which will be released in August.

Many of our partnerships continue to flourish in 2015. Collaborative efforts with the
U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA); the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA); the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); the Office of the Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE); the Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN); the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division; the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx); the National Network of Fusion Centers; and so many others have resulted in streamlined processes, increased information sharing and officer access to critical data, safer officers and communities, and the advancement of important technology solutions.

The year has not come without challenges in the areas of funding and decreased resources and, in some areas, reductions in RISS services; however, the RISS Directors and each center’s policy board members have worked diligently to seek innovative solutions to provide fast, quality-driven support to the law enforcement and public safety communities under tight funding. We also recognize that our members and partners have experienced decreases in funding and manpower. RISS is committed to finding cost-effective solutions to help fill the gaps and move forward.

I urge you to visit www.riss.net/Impact to hear from our partner agencies and officers on how RISS’s services have helped them solve cases, connect the dots, arrest suspects, convict criminals, and stay safe.

I hope you find RISS’s Annual Report informative and helpful. If you have questions or need assistance, please contact your in-region RISS Center.

Connecting Event Deconfliction Systems to Enhance Officer Safety
Logo of Nationwide Officer Safety Event Deconfliction

As of May 2015, the three nationally recognized event deconfliction systems—Case Explorer, SAFETNet, and RISSafe—were integrated. This represents a significant milestone in further strengthening officer and citizen safety across the country. The partners have been working in collaboration to accomplish this goal along with the help of many vested partners, including the Bureau of Justice Assistance; the Office of the Program Manager, Information Sharing Environment; the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration; and many others.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, there have been more than 20,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty since the first recorded police death in 1791. A total of 1,501 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty during the past ten years, an average of one death every 58 hours. The memorial also reports that over the last decade, on average, there have been 58,930 assaults against law enforcement each year, resulting in 15,404 injuries. These statistics serve as a reminder to all of us that continued diligence in ensuring officer safety is critical. Event deconfliction is one essential component in avoiding these tragic situations.

Event deconfliction is the process of determining when law enforcement personnel are conducting an event in close proximity to one another at the same time. Events include law enforcement actions, such as raids, undercover operations, surveillance, or executing search warrants. When certain elements (e.g., time, date, or location) are matched between two or more events, a hit (conflict) results. Immediate notification is then made to the affected agencies or personnel regarding the identified conflict.

Now, no matter which system you use, you will receive conflict information from partner systems when you enter an event into the system, since all three systems will be deconflicting with each other. The three systems are connected using an interface solution known as the Partner Deconfliction Interface (PDI), which was developed in coordination with the system owners. The PDI serves as a pointer (system-to-system) solution. When a submission is made into one of the systems, the PDI enables a query against the two other systems. If a conflict is identified, information regarding that conflict is returned. Notifications are made to the affected officers. (Note: Six SAFETNet instances are currently participating. Work continues to integrate SAFETNet instances in Puerto Rico/U.S. Virgin Islands, Ohio, and New York.)

Event deconfliction helps support and protect law enforcement officers in a variety of ways. Officers partaking in high-risk operations are able to enhance their personal safety and the safety of those around them. The use of an event deconfliction system also helps to reduce risk and liability, improve the wellness of officers, and safeguard citizens. Using an event deconfliction system also enables officers to identify operational conflicts and collaborate with other law enforcement agencies and officers. Officers are then able to leverage each other’s information and successfully apprehend criminals.

The use of event deconfliction enhances officer safety, safeguards community members, helps ensure operational integrity, strengthens information sharing, helps reduce risk and liability, detects conflicting events and brings affected officers together, and builds community confidence. Event deconfliction helps prevent “friendly fire” and helps solve investigations.

There is no cost to use an event deconfliction system. Every law enforcement officer involved in a high-risk operation should participate. Visit https://www.ncirc.gov/Deconfliction/ to learn more about the various resources available, including the Model Event Deconfliction Policy and the Event Deconfliction Frequently Asked Questions. You may also contact your in-region RISS Center or High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) to learn more about event deconfliction and how you and your agency can benefit from this important officer safety tool.

Safeguarding our nation’s law enforcement officers while maintaining the integrity of investigations is a top priority among law enforcement at all levels. RISS and HIDTA are dedicated to supporting this critical need by enhancing officer and public safety, offering interoperable nationwide event deconfliction coverage, promoting the importance of event deconfliction, expanding trusted partnerships, and providing education and support to law enforcement agencies.

RISS LogoN-DEx Logo

Expanding the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx)/RISS Partnership
N-DEx is a national criminal justice investigative information sharing system that contains records from thousands of criminal justice agencies which have contributed millions of records, representing more than one billion entities, including persons, places, things, and events. N-DEx supports multijurisdictional task forces—enhancing national information sharing, linking regional and state records management systems, and enabling virtual regional information sharing. N-DEx supplies free, secure, and immediate access to relevant information; enhances the criminal justice community’s ability to share that information in a timely manner; and provides analysis and collaboration tools to assist investigators working cases cooperatively with other agencies.

Through the N-DEx and RISS partnership effort, access to N-DEx will be available to authorized RISS Secure Cloud (RISSNET) users via the Law Enforcement Enterprise Portal (LEEP) without an additional username or password. This capability enables officers to obtain needed information quickly, saves officers’ time, streamlines operations, and enhances law enforcement’s ability to respond to crime in their communities effectively and efficiently.

“I used N-DEx for the first time this week. I was researching other cases involving certain phone numbers (phone scam). To my surprise, there were ten El Paso County, Texas, Sheriff’s Office (ECSO) cases in which these same numbers were referenced. The only way I would have known whether the ECSO was experiencing the same phone scam would have been to contact its analyst. She would have had to do research and then gotten back to me—all time-consuming. Using N-DEx, I was able to see the reports right away and extract the information that I needed. This is an excellent source of information. I look forward to using it on all future assignments.”

—Strategic Information Center
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Police Department

The project was first launched in December 2013 in the RMIN region. Successes resulting from the pilot were seen immediately. For example, officers with the Fort Collins, Colorado, Police Department attended the N-DEx training. Several of the officers brought their laptops to use during the training. A detective logged on to N-DEx via RISSNET and queried a name of a suspect that he had been trying to locate. He had previously exhausted all other resources normally used in attempting to locate the suspect. His search of N-DEx located several records on his suspect from an agency in Texas. The detective had not been aware that the suspect had ties to Texas. The detective now has new leads to pursue to locate the suspect. Because of the success of
N-DEx, the RISS Directors agreed to expand it throughout the other RISS Center regions in 2015 and 2016.

The N-DEx Program Office has established an Implementation Team that has been tasked with providing N-DEx access to RISSNET users. This will be accomplished through a coordinated partnership among the Implementation Team, the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division systems officer, N-DEx liaison specialists, RISS Center Directors, and RISS Law Enforcement Coordinators (LECs) over an 18-month collaborative schedule beginning in July 2015. Implementation will first be expanded in the RMIN region and then to the other RISS Centers.

N-DEx workshops are being offered to provide an introduction to the N-DEx system and functionalities. The first N-DEx workshop, specifically for LECs, was conducted in June and provided LECs with an understanding of how to use and navigate through the N-DEx system and an understanding of security and policy requirements. In Phase 2 of this effort, N-DEx data will be searchable by authorized RISSNET users through the RISS Criminal Intelligence Database (RISSIntel).

N-DEx and RISS are proud of this partnership and are dedicated to providing law enforcement with easy access to critical data and supporting law enforcement efforts throughout the country. For more information about these systems or this partnership effort, contact N-DEx at ndex@leo.gov and view the N-DEx Website at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/n-dex or contact your in-region RISS Center at www.riss.net.

RISSProp Now Available to Loss Prevention Personnel
Pawn, scrap, secondhand, and other property-related stores are sometimes used by criminals as a means to dispose of stolen merchandise and obtain funds. In order to help the police return stolen property to its rightful owner and to assist in capturing criminals, most states require pawnshops to report transactions that occur in their shops to local law enforcement agencies. In addition, property crimes often have a nexus to larger, more complex criminal activity, such as terrorism, gangs, and narcotics. Criminals are mobile and, in many cases, move stolen items from one jurisdiction or state to another.

The RISS Program supports law enforcement and public safety efforts in a variety of ways, including information sharing, investigative research assistance, analytical support, equipment loans, confidential funds, training, publications development and dissemination, field services, and technical assistance. The six RISS Centers support the needs of their regions while working together on nationwide initiatives.

Often, transactional data is manually tracked and difficult to sift through. The NESPIN RISS Center law enforcement officers in the New England region approached NESPIN with the need to automate the collection of and access to pawn, scrap, secondhand, and other property-related data. NESPIN developed a pawnshop database to meet this regional need. Investigators in the NESPIN region experienced great success in solving burglaries, home invasion robberies, and other crimes, while effectively and efficiently identifying and recovering stolen items. Because of the diverse types of shops involved in reporting, RISS renamed the database the RISS Property and Recovery Tracking System (RISSProp). As of July 1, 2015, RISSProp contained more than 10,246,000,000 records. RISS member-agency or other authorized users have access to RISSProp.

According to the National Retail Federation, organized retail crime costs the retail industry approximately $30 billion each year. In an effort to assist loss prevention or other investigative personnel who are employed by large retail companies, corporations, or organizations that are responsible for combating organized retail theft and who do so by coordinating efforts with appropriate law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction may now also apply for RISSProp access. Currently, more than 35 loss prevention personnel are accessing RISSProp, including personnel employed by retailers such as Target and LL Bean.

Often, loss prevention professionals are the first line of defense, able to quickly identify threats and inform and collaborate with investigators. Expanding RISSProp access to loss prevention personnel will provide information and connections regarding property crimes that may have otherwise gone undetected.

If you or your organization is responsible for loss prevention, contact your in-region RISS Center to learn how RISSProp can help you in the fight against property crimes and other criminal activity.

Shared Successes
Surveillance Equipment Leads to Arrest of Suspects in Narcotics Investigation

MAGLOCLEN surveillance equipment was utilized by the Intensive Drug Investigation Squad of the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Police Department and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in a narcotics investigation involving the transportation of bulk marijuana and currency. The surveillance equipment was used to conduct surveillances on three locations in Philadelphia. As a result of information gained through surveillance, search-and-seizure warrants were executed, which resulted in the arrests of three individuals on narcotics charges. Seizures included 1,226 pounds of marijuana, valued at $1,652,100; $1,916,441 in U.S. currency; and one expensive watch. The charges against the suspects are pending a grand jury indictment.

Analytical Products Instrumental in Conviction of Home Invasion Suspects

Hands in Prison Bars
The Springfield, Missouri, Police Department contacted the MOCIC analytical and intelligence research staff for assistance in a home invasion investigation. The target of the investigation was a group of five suspects who had formed an organized burglary ring and were suspected in more than a dozen commercial and residential burglaries. The group’s ringleader was charged with several counts of robbery, burglary, and armed criminal action related to home invasions that targeted elderly individuals who lived alone. One victim reported that one of the suspects had held a hatchet to her throat while they stole her property. The MOCIC staff obtained information, created link charts and maps, conducted a cell tower analysis of the suspect’s phone, and provided expert testimony for the prosecution regarding the analytical products that were offered at trial. One suspect pled guilty prior to trial. After ten hours of deliberation, the ringleader was found guilty on ten different counts related to four home invasions.

RISSProp Leads Detectives to Suspect in Jewelry Theft Investigation

Woman Getting Arrested
The Westport, Massachusetts, police detectives arrested a cleaning woman who was involved in the thefts of jewelry, checks, and credit cards from the houses she cleaned. After her arrest, she denied any other involvement in any thefts that had occurred in the homes that she cleaned. The Westport detectives utilized RISSProp and located the same suspect days after her arrest selling high-value diamond earrings at a local pawnshop. The detectives spoke with other cleaning service customers, and one indicated that she was missing a pair of high-value diamond earrings. The owner identified the recovered earrings as the earrings stolen from her residence. The value of the earrings was determined to be $40,000. The recovery resulted in an additional arrest warrant for the suspect for larceny in the first degree.

$1.8 Million White-Collar Fraud Case Solved With Assistance of Analytical Products

The U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of the Inspector General, requested analytical and research assistance from RMIN on a $1.8 million white-collar fraud case. The agent requested information on six individuals, including current addresses, real estate information, business affiliations, registered vehicles, driver’s licenses and photos, telephone subscriber information, criminal history, concealed weapons permits, known weapon purchases, and other assets. The RMIN intelligence research staff located property and large money transfers unknown to the agent. The RMIN analytical staff created a courtroom presentation showing a timeline of events on the numerous loans taken out by the suspect, who then claimed bankruptcy to become debt-free. The suspect was found guilty.

Surveillance Equipment Instrumental in the Identification of Repeat Narcotics Offenders

The use of surveillance equipment borrowed from ROCIC was instrumental in the successful identification of repeat narcotics offenders in the Dallas, Texas, Metroplex by the Dallas Police Department Measured Enforcement Targeted Repeat Offenders Unit. Investigators arrested 47 suspected drug dealers and seized more than $25,000 in cash and amounts in excess of 200 grams of cocaine, 23 grams of heroin, 29 grams of methamphetamine, and 94 grams of marijuana, in addition to 14 firearms and 13 vehicles. Valuable investigative information was submitted to the RISSIntel Database for use by other investigators. The ROCIC equipment played a vital role in apprehending these repeat offenders and ensuring the safety of law enforcement personnel.

RISSafe Prevents Disruption of Ongoing Narcotics Investigation

The Fullerton, California, Police Department was conducting a narcotics investigation and had developed some information on a location/suspect who had been dealing methamphetamine and decided to set up surveillance on the suspect’s location. Just prior to going out to the location, the address was entered into RISSafe for event deconfliction. The operation came back in conflict with a current, ongoing investigation by the Anaheim, California, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of a lead player in a major trafficking organization. The Anaheim DEA had surveillance cameras viewing the location and activity. Contact with the Anaheim DEA by the Fullerton Police Department prevented them from disrupting the ongoing investigation and allowed an exchange of information that assisted both agencies.