Web links law enforcement nets
- By Diane Frank
- Aug 20, 2002
Law Enforcement Online
Federal, state and local law enforcement agencies soon will have a single
Web interface linking separate collaborative networks already in place to
increase information sharing across all levels of government.
The FBI's Law Enforcement Online (LEO) network and the Regional Information
Sharing Systems (RISS) network each serve collaborative needs for various
levels of the law enforcement community. By bringing them together through
a single Web interface, users will have access to computing resources as
well as people and expertise across the entire spectrum, said George March,
director of the RISS Office of Information Technology. March was speaking
Aug. 19 at the Government Symposium on Information Sharing and Homeland
Security in Philadelphia.
One of LEO's biggest advantages is the ability to offer a secure online
space for specific interest groups to work and share information. On the
other hand, RISS excels in providing Web access to multiple databases in
local jurisdictions across the country, March said.
After Sept. 11, both the Justice Department and the White House Office
of Homeland Security started looking for solutions to connect the entire
law enforcement community, and in the end, both turned to the connection
between the existing networks, March said.
The hardware and software for the connection is in place, and the interface
has been tested by Justice and has gone through full certification and accreditation
under the federal requirements, March said. Final approval should come through
soon, and then all that is left to do is flip the switch, he said.
Both networks will continue to exist as separate entities, because there
are different users in each environment, but the Web interface that the
LEO and RISS teams have been developing will provide a seamless bridge between
A single advisory committee will oversee the integration of the two
networks. March said that part of the plan is to play to the strengths of
both networks moving forward, putting LEO in charge of advancing Web-based
applications and RISS in charge of handling the database applications.
A single directory and e-mail system will be put in place that will
allow any member of either network to connect to the person or group with
the appropriate expertise at any time. The directory also will enable full
security on the network by setting access according to individual identity.
One potential application for this connection will be for LEO to be
the central point through which local law enforcement will receive alerts
from federal homeland security officials, March said.