CopLink developer certifies vendors

Process entails formal exchange of sharing schemas and underlying architectures for tighter integration with the CopLink data tool used by law enforcement agencies.

A Tucson, Ariz.-based company that has deployed a law enforcement information-sharing and analysis tool in more than 100 communities across the United States announced creation of an interoperability certification program to accelerate future deployments.

So far, Knowledge Computing Corp., which developed and markets the tool called CopLink, has certified two providers of records management systems -- Intergraph Public Safety and Geo911 Inc.

Coplink was created in 1998 at the Artificial Intelligence Lab at the University of Arizona. It can analyze large volumes of structured and unstructured information from disparate law enforcement databases to detect trends and produce leads for investigators.

The new certification process entails the exchange of information-sharing schemas and data architectures to create a tighter integration. Certification is free, but it doesn't constitute an endorsement of a vendor, provider or technology.

Although CopLink works with any type of data, integrating schemas will speed installations in communities with CopLink-certified vendors, reducing implementation time from weeks to days, said Robert Griffin, president of Knowledge Computing.

"Where the certification really gets tight is around the refresh mechanism," he said. "What CopLink does is we read the initial data sources the first time and create an integrated warehouse, and from that we hook up these automated triggers to give us the latest adds, deletes and changes and so forth. Some of those triggers we can make very tightly integrated by sharing information with architecture designs and so forth."

Being certified also means that Knowledge Computing will be notified of upcoming vendor upgrades. "So if they're coming out with a new release, say, three months or four months or a year down the line that may change an underlying schema, we'll have a heads-up on that and be proactive prior to the event," Griffin said.

Vendors can also become CopLink-compliant, meaning the company understands the vendor's schemas but hasn't completed an integration. Griffin said he's seeing more and more cities issue requests for proposals that require vendors to be CopLink-certified or CopLink-compliant.

Griffin said there are about 600 records management system vendors in the United States alone, and his company is projecting major growth in the sector this year.

CopLink is being deployed in seven cities in the state of Alaska, covering half the population there.

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