The recent attacks in Paris are a good reminder that we now live in a world where mass murder for nearly any number of reasons is possible in nearly any number of places.
Crime Analysts can play an active role in planning for and disrupting such attacks. By sharing information and identifying trends and patterns a good analyst can shed light on things that might otherwise be missed in normal police operations. By identifying critical infrastructure and soft targets within a community a good analyst can also make recommendations that make their communities less vulnerable.
Beyond these incidents of violence an analyst can also be very helpful in helping their agency and their community be better prepared for all hazards. Whether it is a terror attack, an active shooter, a chemical spill, a tornado or a blizzard a crime analyst has the tools and training that are easily transferrable into skills required for identifying vulnerabilities, developing useful response plans and sharing information that can be used to disrupt issues before they happen, mitigate the damage from incidents that occur and aid in a faster recovery after an incident has happened.
The analysts role can basically be broken down into what they can do before, during and after a crisis.
Become an expert at networking and intelligence sharing – you should have contacts and be receiving information from your nearest Fusion Center(s) – in Massachusetts that would be the Boston Regional Intelligence Center (BRIC) and the Massachusetts State Police Fusion Center, you should also do the same with your nearest HIDTA and RISS. You should also have access to the HSIN and LEEP – these resources are free.
You can also increase your knowledge and training with free FEMA training as well as Ready.Gov and you don't need to make your own mistakes when you can learn lessons from other incidents at the Lessons Learned information Sharing Program LLIS
Also let your officers know about the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative SAR
A good analyst can also create maps showing vulnerable targets, resources, staging areas and evacuation routes.
There is a free tool from MEMA (Massachusetts Emergency Management System) called the Web EOC (Emergency Operations Center) that you should be familiar with. MEMA resources are here
Updated power outage maps can be found online here
You may also be called upon to use your skills to assist investigators in gathering information during rapidly unfolding investigations. If your agency has not thought about how they will use you before a disaster you should be part of the planning process. You need to know what everyone in your agency can do and they need to know what you can do. Unfortunately, a lot of crime analysts are under-utilized in day-to-day operations but this can be even more the case during man made and natural disasters.
After a disaster or terror incident the goal is recovery. This is where maps and lists of resources are very helpful. Finally, even if you aren't directly involved at the scene of an incident you may find yourself having difficulty if members of your community or agency were hurt or killed. There is no shame in asking for help and despite the tough working environment many crime analysts find themselves in you can't help your agency and your community if you do not take care of yourself. When these incidents run around the clock over several days you need to remember to eat and rest.
Good preparation is the key to surviving these incidents and if you have done everything you can before anything ever happens you will have no regrets.
MACA has a lot of experts in a lot of areas and you should use our resources to help you prepare. Feel free to reach out to your fellow MACA members on the MACA-L to share ideas on how we can all better prepare for the worst. Let's hope we never need to use these skills and resources.
– Lieutenant Glen Mills – MACA President