Information Sharing Using a State Fusion Center: A Case Study of the New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center
Criminology and Criminal Justice
The aftereffects from September 11, 2001, demonstrated how much the United States lacked sufficiently coordinated efforts for addressing--and even potentially preventing--this monumental tragedy. The 9/11 Commission reported that a failure of information-sharing among law-enforcement agencies was one of the many reasons for the terrorist attack. Although goodwill existed between many of the agencies, they were unable to completely assess the risk to the U.S. because information was not being shared. Fusion centers were the answer; and 72 fusion centers exist today. These centers are a collaboration between federal, state, local, and tribal authorities to improve information-gathering among public-safety entities, so that analysis can be conducted and local law-enforcement agencies can act on the resulting intelligence. Thus, the centers help local agencies become better-equipped to target crime by giving the latter the necessary tools to adopt the new intelligence-led policing (ILP) model. Although much of the fusion center and policing literature focuses on information-sharing as a tool for intelligence-led policing, I hypothesize that focused intelligence will help promote the fusion center's goal of information-sharing and persuade law enforcement to "buy in" to its benefits and ILP. This is necessary for fusion centers to continue to operate because they need more information from the people who interact with the public daily. However, the long history of secrecy that pervades the law enforcement community is not easy to overcome. This dissertation offers a case study of one fusion center, the New Jersey Regional Operations Intelligence Center (ROIC), and its customers, the New Jersey municipal law enforcement community. Ethnographic methods such as participant observation, surveys, and interviews were used to discover how intelligence is disseminated and then shared within the state of New Jersey.