• 04/25/2014 3:17 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by Tiana Antul:

    Happy Friday to everyone!

    It was wonderful to see such a great turnout to the Watertown meeting this month. A huge thank you to Lloyd Burke for what I thought was an outstanding presentation.

    How outstanding was it? I went back to work and toiled and tried and erred and today I got my first batch file to run properly! He was right… it’s so easy a monkey could do it.

    Once you’ve written your first successful batch file and gotten over the little bumps that you’re likely to run into along the way, you’re going to want to automate everything you do on a regular basis. I thought I’d share my experience and some of the mistakes I made (including one rather LARGE rookie one) to spare others the same headaches.

    I started with a new report I was recently asked to provide to the Department of Public Health. They are analyzing trends in opiate use and were interested in getting weekly reports on all overdose incidents reported to our Police Department.

    I started with a relatively simple select query to pull the data. Knowing that I intend to create a scheduled task that will run this report every Sunday for the previous week, I set the date parameters to “Between Date()-7 and Date()-1 + #11:59:59#”. I have to add the #11:59:59# because in our RMS the date field is a combined date and time. This ensures that I’m capturing everything that was reported from the previous Sunday all the way through midnight on following Saturday.

    Next step? Macro time! I created a macro that would run the above-mentioned query and export the results to my local drive in Excel file format.

    For the intents of creating a batch file that you will run by using Task Scheduler, you will want this Macro to automatically execute when Access is opened. There are two ways to do this (that I know of), but the easiest way is to simply name the Macro “AutoExec”. The name will bold face and the macro will automatically run whenever you open the database.

    Lesson Learned #1: If you use this database for any other work, DO NOT use an AutoExec Macro to shut down Access when it finishes running. Rather, have the batch file shut down Access. I made this mistake and nearly had a panic attack the next time I went to open my database and it immediately closed on me because of this epic mistake. There’s really no way to delete or edit a macro in a database without being able to open the database and keep it open (not that I’m aware of anyway). Thank goodness for computer backups (I guess those IT people we complain about all the time actually do come in handy now and then! Phew!).

    Okay, step 3. Write your batch file. For our intents and purposes, these really truly are easy to write. I promise you. I ran into one glitch where I was asking the batch to delete a file on my PC before running my macro so that Access could write over the existing file without having to ask an end user if it was okay. It took me a while, but I figured it out, and this is lesson #2:

    Lesson Learned #2: Make sure that all your files are located in the same directory. This makes the batch file happy.smiley I keep my database, the notepad text file, batch file, and the Excel file that gets exported from Access, all in the same folder on my local drive.

    The next problem I ran into was the batch file not being able to locate folders and files that I was trying to point to by using a directory. Solution?

    Lesson Learned #3: When pointing to a file or folder in batch script, make sure that there are no spaces in the folder or file names. I always knew this to be good programming practice, but it honestly never caused me any issues until now, and apparently I got sloppy in my naming practices. Once I removed the spaces and tried running the batch file again, everything worked like a charm. And this stuff runs fast!

    The next step was to create the scheduled task. I couldn’t see my task scheduler when I opened up my control panel so I had to do a search for it. Scheduling a task is kind of fool proof since you’re walked through every step. I told my computer to run the batch file every Sunday at noon. There was even an option for the task to run whether I was logged in or not. (This coming Monday I’ll find out if it ran as expected). With any luck the report will sitting on my computer waiting for me to email it off. If not, then I know the issue is with the scheduled task and I will trouble shoot from there.

    The next and final step is to look for a way to include script in the batch file that will email this report automatically. My initial research points to SMTP, but most solutions involve using a 3rd party program, which isn’t an option for me because I don’t have Admin privileges and I can’t download software on my work PC.

    So this is what I’ve done a la the Great and Powerful Lloyd Burke, and my missteps which hopefully help you to avoid the same mistakes that I made. Feel free to call or email me if you want help doing this. I can’t guarantee to know the answer but there’s no problem we can’t figure out a solution to. Please share your experiences too! This is great stuff and Lloyd is leading the automation revolution.

  • 03/10/2014 3:15 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by Kate Curtis:

    Taken from the Berkshire Eagle entitled Pittsfield Police Crime Analst Helped by Military Intelligence Background by Jim Therrien

    PITTSFIELD — With training in military intelligence, Amanda O'Connor thought there was little chance she'd find civilian employment matching that skill in her native Berkshire County.

    But that changed for the 25-year-old Sheffield resident when the position of crime analyst was established last year in the Pittsfield Police Department. O'Connor was selected from among more than 50 applicants for the job and began work at the Allen Street police station just before New Year's Day.

    "It was a dream come true," she said. "I get to do what I want to do and stay in the Berkshires at the same time."

    O'Connor is a 2006 graduate of Mount Everett Regional High School and a 2010 graduate of Williams College.

    While the job of crime analyst is new to the city, it is rapidly catching on in police departments across Massachusetts and in other states. In requesting funding for the new position, Chief Michael Wynn said he immediately suggested an analyst when asked what one change would have the greatest positive impact on his department.

    O'Connor said she uses data and statistical analysis and computer skills to assist officers in the field, and the information also helps Wynn and other leaders in managing the force and developing effective crime-countering strategies. She also is working to broaden the PPD's electronic connections with other law enforcement entities.

    To gain some background on the job, O'Connor said that before starting she and Wynn met with members of Massachusetts Association of Crime Analysts, who work in other police departments, institutions such as colleges and state agencies. "They are very supportive of each other," she said.

    "When I started, I had a whole bunch of ideas," O'Connor said. "Chief Wynn and I sat down to arrange the priorities. The first thing I did was organize the [daily police] logs."

    She said she wanted to organize the logs — which list the calls officers respond to in chronological order, a condensed version of which is published in The Eagle — in part to help her learn how the department operates. Almost immediately, she said, officers noticed her categorized call lists and began referring to them.

    Right away, the categories were useful to officers, Wynn said. "And from a management point of view, that's gold," he said.

    Her lists break down calls over a given time period into such categories as Alarm, Burglar; Disturbance; Domestic; Harassment; Homeless Assist; Motor Vehicle Stop; Smoke Odor; Assist Citizen; B&E Motor Vehicle; Assault; Serve Arrest Warrant; Sex Offender Registry; Well Being Checks, and Unwanted Suspect.

    "But our main priority has been the Hot Sheet," O'Connor said.

    The "sheet" is a modern version of the old shift change roll call briefing, usually delivered in TV cop shows by a gruff, no-nonsense sergeant, as in the landmark series, "Hill Street Blues."

    Today, O'Connor is overseeing a transition from the current Word document format, which officers can read or print out and take with them on the road, to a PowerPoint-style presentation with color photos, maps, and arrest, prison release and "wanted" information. It also includes information about crime trends and locations, state or national news relating to street drugs, weapons encountered by police or other information.

    The Hot Sheets are shown on a TV screen in a slide-show format, but will soon be available to officers in a continuously running loop, O'Connor said, and the goal is to make it available on computer consoles in police cruisers.

    She and Wynn spoke about her job during a recent city Police Advisory Committee meeting. The chief said O'Connor quickly had an impact by noticing burglary trends that led to an arrest. By looking at the entire stream of report data from officers, "she can find commonalties," he said, such as a link between three shooting incidents in different areas that hadn't been recognized.

    "A lot of people [at the department] don't have the time to look through the data bases," O'Connor said.

    A software program the department hopes to acquire will add a GPS mapping component, she said, allowing her to easily plug data on types of crimes, accidents or other call details into a city map. "This lets us see what is actually happening," she said. "It shows the trends, such as in the accident reports, where we need to improve responses."

    Police work is something O'Connor said she had always considered for a career. After graduating from Williams, she enlisted in the Army National Guard and spent two years on active duty, including training in military intelligence, and also learning Korean.

    She had noticed on a Williams website that Wynn also graduated from the college, and she asked him about police work, eventually learning that the crime analyst position would be created.

    "It's a job that has a whole bunch of aspects," O'Connor said, "and it will not be boring."

    She added: "It's engaging, and I am doing something to help the community and people in general, which is something I've always wanted to do."

    To reach Jim Therrien: jtherrien@berkshireeagle.com, or (413) 496-6247

    On Twitter: @BE_therrien


  • 09/04/2013 3:13 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by Tiana Antul:

    As the title Crime Analyst implies, we analyze crime. But what about all the non-criminal events that get reported every day? If we choose to simply ignore them then we’re leaving out a very significant piece of the entire law enforcement picture and neglecting to fill our professional role.

    This is the significance of examining non-criminal events. So let’s get started thinking about how we might be able to make better use of this data.

    A quick look at incidents reported in a one hour window yesterday revealed that our Communications center generated 17 incidents during that time. Only three of these incidents involved actual crimes including a sexual assault, a heroin overdose, and a motor vehicle violation.

    All the other incidents involved non-criminal events including a verbal domestic dispute, a concerned citizen reporting an open residential door, a motorist in need assistance after his vehicle got stuck where the Sewer Dept. was working to replace a grate, an elderly assist for a woman who had fallen and needed help getting up, and a lot of police-initiated incidents for departmental work like investigations, serving warrants, and serving restraining orders.

    Your department is likely to have a similar breakdown of incidents, maybe not so much insofar as the substance of the calls, but as far as the ratio of criminal to non-criminal events. I.e., the overwhelming majority of incidents are probably for non-criminal events.

    Making good use of this information might require going above and beyond the traditional role of an analyst. You have the data (and power) to easily identify people in your community who might be at risk, who might benefit from some type of services, or who might show signs of potential to escalate from non-criminal behavior to criminal behavior. Making connections within your Department as well as with other professionals in your community will allow you to help citizens in a very real way, reduce the number of future calls concerning specific people or events surrounding specific circumstances, ultimately freeing up limited police resources. Perhaps you’ll even prevent a crime.

    That domestic dispute…can you perform a dangerousness assessment on both parties? Is there anything in either party’s history suggesting risk factors or the potential to escalate? The elder who fell and needed assistance… can you refer her to Elder Services? They likely have a Fall Prevention Program aimed at educating seniors on how to minimize their fall risk. How about the stuck vehicle (which might have caused consequential traffic-related issues during a critical commute time)? The Police and Sewer Departments can work together to prevent such incidents while grates are actively being worked on. What about mental health in your community and its relationship with crime and disorder? Homelessness? How can you use non-criminal events to help alleviate the social factors associated with criminal and non-criminal events?

  • 08/21/2013 3:10 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by Tiana Antul:

    I was sitting at my computer contemplating what I ought to write about for my first blog entry since returning to work… a long overdue item on my to-do list. Not particularly inspired by anything that my own mind could conjure up, (things tend to get a little fuzzy after 6 consecutive months of sleeping in one hour stretches) I did what any self-respecting professional of the 21st century does when they need an idea. I decided to steal one from the Internet.

    Destination: Google. Search Term: Crime Analysis. Select: News. Scroll through the list of results. Voila! An article posted just 22 hours ago on PoliceOne.com titled Rise of the crime analyst. This could work.

    It’s a short one page read (I’ll go so far as to label it the internet blurb equivalent of a highway billboard promoting IBM) and although it didn’t contain any particularly jaw-dropping or innovative concepts insofar as the world of crime analysis, it’s an article that contains a few oft forgotten morsels of geek fodder that can save you from becoming too ensnarled in the intricate web of work we weave as analysts, pull you back a bit, and remind you of the big picture- a much more peaceful place than the chaotic one we can find ourselves in when we wear too many hats and try to accomplish too many things.

    The first sentence of the article begins, “By taking advantage of Big Data…”. I stopped here before reading any further. Those six words should serve as a reminder to us all of the “Big Data” that we have at our fingertips. We can gripe all day long about data integrity issues, but most of us rest our fingertips at a computer where we have access to voluminous, reasonably reliable information rich in detail about every call that is ever placed to our Department going back for years and years for everything from crime, to medical calls, traffic accidents, and a wide variety of other non-criminal issues. We are so fortunate to have this data, flawed as it may be, and we need to own the responsibility of breaking it down into meaningful easily digested information for our Departments. We also need to strive to be more innovative with it. Do you only focus on crime? Sure, we’re labeled “Crime Analysts”, but the truth is that we work with all police data which encompasses much more than just crime. In fact, the reality is that most police departments spend the majority of their time responding to non-criminal issues. So why not take a look at those and help your Department understand exactly how and where its resources are being utilized. You might be surprised.

    The article also touches on the “crucial role [we play] in helping law enforcement agencies quantify, evaluate, and respond to the changing landscape of criminal activities in their jurisdictions”. I really like that term… changing landscapes. Have you ever thought about that? Jurisdictions are fluid… people move in. People move out. Social events change each year. Businesses open up. Businesses close down. New businesses move in. New roads are paved. Lights are installed. Policing styles change over the years. The economy changes. There are infinite factors that influence the “changing landscape of criminal activity” in our jurisdictions. Are you taking all of this into account when you look at historical data and compare it to the picture of crime in your community today?

    Lastly, the article mentions how we’re in a position to not only analyze crime from a historical perspective, but that we “now [also] have the means to better forecast the impact it will likely have on the community”. This is something that we in the field are still grappling with. That policing paradigm that gets everyone worked up called, “Predictive Policing”. But alas I will save this topic for another blog entry. It deserves to be its own focal point.

    In any case, get those brain neurons firing and thinking about your Big Data, what you can do with it, how to push it to its limits, and how you might describe the changing landscape of crime in your community if you were asked to.

  • 05/06/2013 3:06 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by MACA15:

    During our January 2013 monthly meeting we had the pleasure of seeing a presentation on C3 Policing or Counter Criminal Continuum Policing. The Massachusetts State Police have been using an adaptation of military counterinsurgency strategies and tactics to turn around a very bad gang situation in North Springfield. To those who have been in law enforcement for many years these tactics and strategies look like a mixture of Community Policing and the practical application of Crime & Intelligence Analysis. No matter what you call this program the results show that the Troopers have been very effective and they should be commended for coming up with this excellent model that can be adapted to departments facing similar issues.

    The program has been so succesful that "60 Minutes" ran a piece on it on Sunday May 5th. 

    For those who missed the January presentation we have invited the State Police to give a presentation at our 16th Annual Conference from May 13 – 17, 2013. This program is so good that we will probably be asking Trooper Cutone and his team back for our 17th Annual Conference from May 12 – 17 in 2014.

    Getting Creative

    Posted on December 13, 2012 by Tiana Antul Posted in Blog

    A friend and colleague of mine recently shared this with me. It's a must-see short video PSA created by the Tampa Police Department reminding folks to lock their car doors and hide their bags when they're out doing their holiday shopping… two simple preventative measures that could reduce the number of car break ins Tampa PD responds to this holiday season.

    I admit (somewhat ashamedly) to watching it over, and over, and over again, but then who can resist good-humored police officers donning Santa hats performing a feebly choreographed routine while singing catchy crime prevention lyrics set to the melody of a familiar favorite Christmas carol? I couldn't.

    Some of the lyrics at the end are a stretch (in my opinion). Most car break victims don't help the police "catch the crook", and victims rarely "get back all the stuff he took". But in the spirit of the holiday season I'll give TPD a pass and chalk it up to rounding out their PSA with the most optimistic and desirable outcome. And while I doubt any of us will be persuading our departments to start film production any time soon, it should at least get you thinking about how you can translate this creative spin to your analytical products. After all, getting and keeping people's attention is half the analytical battle. I'm not suggesting you sport a Santa hat, but maybe it's time to spice up those reports.

    Enjoy, and have a safe holiday…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c7oxhnQ5qw

  • 09/28/2012 3:01 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by Kate Curtis:

    From Carol Fitzgerald (MACA - Secretary)

    Tom Mueller, Adjunct GIS professor at Northeastern University asked the MACA membership in July 2012 for crime data that his Geospatial Analysis of Crime class could utilize to learn not only how to map, but the importance of data integrity and basic police operations. He also believed in service learning – students working on real world projects to assist the community.

    The City of Leominster, MA crime analysis section provided Dr. Mueller with the requested two years worth of crime data. After the class had ended, projects had been turned in and final grades were given out, Dr. Mueller was kind enough to send back the students’ final reports. Six final reports were completed, covering the topics of simple A&Bs, destruction of property, residential B&Es and drug activity reports, DUI, disorderly conduct and auto theft versus car breaks in the City of Leominster.

    While all of the reports were comprehensive and fascinating to read, I was asked to choose one report I thought was the best put together. The report written on destruction of property in the City of Leominster by Esther Olson–Murphy was top-rated. The report was easy to read and follow and clearly broken up into appropriate headings. The maps were well constructed and when explained in text, again it was clear to understand what she was describing. The conclusion was strong, briefly restating the main points she discovered and offered some limitations with the data.

    I thank Dr. Mueller for reaching out to our established and professional organization for crime data and encourage each member to consider providing crime data for use inside the classroom at any college or university. The findings they return can provide some meaningful insight to you as an analyst, assist the students in their learning environment and exposes them to a little of what we do each day.

  • 09/27/2012 2:57 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by Tiana Antul:

    Does your Agency do any proactive policing? If so, step up and play a role by using your data analysis skills to glean some new insights and give your department some data-driven direction. Need a place to start? Try using a small series of simple select queries to identify some specific locations in your jurisdiction with quality of life issues that your department can focus on. You’ll likely turn up locations that are well-known amongst the officers in your department, but they will also likely be surprised by some of the locations you identify. It’s not uncommon for problem locations to go unnoticed when multiple incidents at a location take place on different shifts, are responded to by different officers, or when a location is only problematic for a short duration of time.

    Start by creating a table with your most recent data. While it isn’t entirely necessary to create a new table, it will help to speed up your queries if you work for an agency that deals with a high volume of incidents. I would suggest starting with a month’s worth of data, and adjusting accordingly at the end based on the results you get.

    Brainstorm which types of incidents you want to include in your definition of “quality of life” issues. Incident types will vary from department to department, but I suggest considering some of the “lesser” incident types that don’t necessarily rise to the level of a crime, such as loud parties, loud music, animal complaints, disorderly persons, disturbances, aggressive panhandling, and the like. Using a select query, pull out just those records involving the types of incidents that you’ve defined as constituting quality of life issues.

    Now create a new query that runs off the previous one. With the “Totals” button (summation symbol) activated, count the number of incidents grouped by the address at which they took place. Sort your count of incidents in a descending fashion. This will sort your results so that the addresses with the most quality of life-related incidents appear at the top. You can also set a threshold in the criteria row of your incident count to limit your results. For example, “>3” will only return those addresses that have had 4 or more quality of life-related incidents in the previous month.

    Depending on how many locations your query results turn up, you may find that you need to scale back to 3 or 2 weeks worth of data if the volume is too large. Conversely, if your jurisdiction is a relatively quiet one, or if your jurisdiction consists of a small geographic area such as a college campus, you may need to expand your original data selection to include a larger date range. You can also adjust the threshold (if you set one) to see more or fewer addresses.

    Voila! Within minutes you’re armed with a list of locations that have experienced recent quality of life issues, and it’s all backed up with data.

    Feeling adventurous? Try repeating the process for other categories of incidents, such as violent crime, property crime, etc. to identify other types of problem properties.

  • 07/25/2012 2:55 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by Tiana Antul:

    You’re a busy analyst. That much we’ve established. You tirelessly clean and analyze so that you can provide your agency with useful products and information that will hopefully be used to guide operations. This is the very heart of crime analysis work.

    Our products—reports, alerts, bulletins, etc.—are intended to be shared. After all, if they sat on our desks for our eyes only, we wouldn’t be doing our jobs as analysts, right? But because these products often contain information that is time sensitive, they will inevitably contain details of incidents that are recent, current, ongoing, and in many cases, still under investigation.

    As responsible analysts, we take certain precautions to protect the information contained in our products. Haven’t we all gotten good at slapping that little fancy disclaimer onto our products as a “CYA” safeguard? You know, the one that usually starts off something like, “The information contained in this document is law enforcement sensitive…” And while that written disclaimer might cover your you-know-what in the event that a product lands in the wrong hands, there are extra steps we can take to lessen the chances that an investigation is compromised. Even if we personally only disseminate to law enforcement personnel or other criminal justice professionals, as professionals we can and need to still be mindful of where else our products might go once we hit the “send” button.

    Securing documents is an easy way to make sure that information is only seen by your intended audience. It also allows you to restrict what other people can do with your document content. There are various ways to accomplish varying levels of security. Because most of us share documents in a portable document format (PDF), here I’ll cover a few basic ways to protect a PDF file specifically. Keep in mind that the steps involved may vary slightly depending on which version of Adobe you have, and that most of these security options are also available for other file formats. A quick Google search will provide you with step-by-step directions on how to protect just about any file format in any software version. It is also recommended that whenever securing a document, you work with a copy so that you always maintain the original unadulterated version for yourself.

    1. The Password Protect: This security setting requires a password in order to open the document for viewing. It ensures that only those who know the password will be able to open your document and view its contents. Obviously, this feature does not prevent recipients from sharing the password, but it is an added level of security nonetheless in the event that a file is accidentally forwarded.

    How to Do It:

    Go to Advanced -> Security -> Password Encrypt. A message box will pop up asking if you are sure you want to change the security on your document. Select Yes. Check the box that says Require a password to open the document. Type in the password you want to apply for security and then select Okay. You’ll be asked to confirm the password by typing it in again. Then select Okay. Your new security setting will be applies the next time you save your document. Voila, only those individuals with the password will be able to open the document. Be careful though… this applies to you, the writer, as well, so make sure to document your password somewhere safe else you won’t be able to open it either!

    2. Restrict Permissions: This is another simple way of protecting your document. Here you can disable printing of your document and/or prevent your document’s content from being copied and pasted elsewhere.

    How to Do It:

    Go to Advanced -> Security -> Show Security Properties. On the Security Tab, select Change Settings. Under “Permissions”, select the box that says Restrict editing and printing of the document. Where is says Change Permissions Password, enter a password. Using the drop down menus directly below this password, you can restrict printing of your document as well as dictate what types of changes, if any, you will allow to be made to your document. Once you save your document, you will notice that the options to print, copy, paste, etc. are now unavailable (as indicated by being “grayed out”) according to the security settings you chose.

    3. Redaction: Sometimes you want to share a document, and the easiest way to secure it is to simply redact a few pieces of sensitive information. Whatever you do, do not simply change the background color of your text! I assure you the text is still there and easily revealed.

    How to Do It:

    With your PDF document open, go to Advanced -> Redaction -> Mark for Redaction. Simply use the cursor to select the text and/or graphics that you would like to redact from your document. A red rectangle will appear around the text or image(s). Once you’ve marked all the content that you would like to redact, go to Advanced -> Redaction -> Apply Redactions. Adobe will warn you that you are about to permanently redact the content you have marked. Select Okay. The next time you save your document, even if you select “Save”, Adobe will prompt you to “Save As”, allowing you to rename it. As mentioned above, this is good habit to get into. This way you will maintain a copy of the original unadulterated document.

    * Note that if you’re trying to redact with a PDF document where you have already restricted permissions to change the document (option 2 above) then your ability to redact might be unavailable depending on the settings you choose.


  • 05/25/2012 2:51 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by Glen Mills:

    It’s the life of a crime analyst. The tedious and never-ending daily process of reviewing incidents and cleaning data (akin to dirty laundry, despite fervent strides to whittle it down there’s inevitably a new abundance of it greeting you each day, silently mocking you). The reports we run regularly to support CompStat style meetings, crime watch group meetings, grants, and the like. The technical support we often lend within our departments because, for some unknown reason, people assume that when you do crime analysis you’ll also know how to fix their infected laptop, the jammed copy machine, and the broken printer in the cell room. And it just wouldn’t be a normal day for any crime analyst without at least one unexpected (and almost always urgent) request for data from one of the various units within your police department, an outside agency, or the public. These requests take time, sometimes requiring several hours to build a query and pair your results with a nice chart or analytical summary. The requester is unlikely to understand the data and therefore has no realistic idea as to the amount of time and work involved in meeting their request. And then there are all the emails, phone calls, and meetings…

    If you feel like you’re constantly chasing your tail then chances are you’re prioritizing things in such a way that you’re getting in the way of your own analysis work. It’s a common pitfall for crime analysts and can put a serious cramp in how good you feel about your career. So let’s take a moment to take stock of our priorities and highlight four things that should top that list.

    1. Data Quality and Analytical Integrity. The GIGO adage is a permanent fixture in the world of crime analysis, and for a good reason. Nothing you prepare, no matter how nice it looks, it worth anything unless there’s good quality data behind it. In fact it’s downright irresponsible to provide your department with information that was gleaned from an analysis of uncleaned data. So take the task of data cleaning seriously and make it your daily religion.

    2. Skill building. This should also be one of your top priorities. Dedicate some time each week to becoming more proficient in some area of your work. Whichever area of your work you tend to avoid (maybe it’s Microsoft Access, or ArcGIS) is probably a good place to start. Challenge yourself with something as simple as learning how to create a new type of chart in Excel or something slightly more involved like learning a new mapping technique. Not only will you love the sense of achievement, but it’s less stressful to learn these things on your own time than under the pressure of when something needs to get done. Proficiency will also shorten the amount of time it takes you to complete your work and improve the overall quality of your work. There’s no way around it; to become proficient you must have exposure and you need to practice.

    3. Automation. How many times have you thought to yourself, “I know I should really automate this, but I just can’t find the time to do it.”? If you can’t seem to find the time, chances are something less important, like responding to emails or special requests, is getting in the way. Start by automating just one regular task. When you realize the amount of time and aggravation it saves you, you’ll want to keep going! It’s also a great way to put an end to that “chasing your tail” feeling.

    4. Make Nice. You’re not going to like everyone in your department. We’re only human. But a pleasant attitude and a smile can go a long way to make your job and your life a lot easier. Officers are more likely to appreciate you and your work. They’re more likely to approach you for analytical support. They might be more willing to share information with you. They’re more likely to be understanding of the challenges you face in your work. They’ll probably be more willing (even happy?) to give you assistance when you need something from them. It’s all around a good thing.

    So take a moment to evaluate how you spend your average work day. If you’re constantly putting out fires and struggling to find time for analysis, slow down and shift your focus to things that will help your long-term goals, not the short term goals of others. You’ll feel more in control, have fewer crises to deal with, be better equipped to deal with real crises when they do arise, have more time for analysis, and minimize your stress.

    I have been getting this newsletter from the beginning and I think that what they are doing is so important that I reached out to them repeatedly asking them to hold a class in the Northeast. They finally agreed if I could find a way to host it and fund it. So, for only $200 officers from all over New England can attend this excellent two day program.

    Every police department should have key officers within their organizations that understand Force Science.http://www.forcescience.org/

    This class will be instructed by Chris Butler and Doctor Bill Lewinski. Dr. Lewinski is the founder of Force Science and this is a rare opportunity to see him here in the Northeast.

    This training is important for all police officers but it is absolutely essential for:

    • Use-of-Force Instructors
    • Accreditation Managers
    • Firearms Instructors
    • Internal Affairs Investigators
    • Union Officials
    • Union Attorneys

    To register for the Force Science course in Burlington on June 28 and 29 go here: http://www.bpd.org/force-science

    Please share these resources with your training officers and decision makers in your organization.

    -Glen Mills

  • 05/10/2012 2:47 PM | John Cowhig (Administrator)

    Originally posted by Kate Curtis:

    Free Webinar!

    May 25th commemorates National Missing Children’s Day. On this day, the Department of Justice, public agencies, and private organizations gather in communities throughout the country to renew their commitment to find missing children, celebrate heartwarming stories of recovery, and honor those whose tragic loss remains in our hearts and memories.

    In recognition of Missing Children’s Day and its associated activities, the Missing and Exploited Children’s Program (MECP) has partnered with the AMBER Alert Training and Technical Assistance Program to increase awareness for missing children and child trafficking victims.

    This webinar presentation will demonstrate the correlation and commonalities between the unknown missing child, chronic runaway, repeat victims of sexual abuse, abducted children, and the child victimized through sex trafficking. Participants will be provided with information regarding the dynamics of child sex trafficking, cumulative risk factors and how these affect the child. Panelists will provide participants information on developing community responses to effectively respond to and provide services for this vulnerable population.

    Date: Wednesday, May 16, 2012

    Time: 2:00 PM – 3:00 PM EDT

    Cost: Free

    Space is limited!

    Register NOW!!!!!


The Massachusetts Association of Crime Analysts
P.O. Box 6123, Chelsea, MA 02150
http://macrimeanalysts.org

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