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PARTNERS IN SOLVING CRIME

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KSP program promotes information-sharing among regional law-enfocement agencies

By Phyllis McLaughlin

The Trimble Banner

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In a darkened conference room at the Kentucky State Police Post 5 headquarters in Campbellsburg, representatives from law-enforcement agencies throughout the six counties in the Post 5 district were learning to use a new website intended to aid in drug investigations.

The site is set up as a sort of database, where officers and detectives give share limited but vital information about drug-related investigations. The idea is to help agencies avoid duplicating efforts, and to give other agencies a “heads up” regarding planned undercover operations involving drug buys and other tactics used to ensnare drug traffickers.

It’s just one part of a program started in 2008 at Posts 5, 9 and 14, designed to promote information-sharing among agencies to help solve regional crimes – something law-enforcement officials haven’t always been able or willing to do.

Post 5 Capt. Dean Hayes explained that this “deconfliction” program was the brainchild of KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer. In 2008, each post received funding to hire a criminal analyst to work at the post. The analyst’s job is to serve as a repository of information on investigations and other activities in each region, and help disseminate the information to the participating agencies.

“We have had meetings once a month or every couple of months to share information,” Hayes said in an interview Thursday, April 29.

So far, the program has worked to solve several crimes in the region – even across the Ohio River into Indiana.

“Crime doesn’t know boundaries,” Hayes said. KSP, the Indiana State Police, the Jefferson County, Ind., Sheriff’s Office and Madison, Ind., Police Department are working together to solve the recent spree of burglaries in Trimble County.

And it is that cooperation that led to the arrest last week of Gregory A. Goins, 44, of Madison, the man accused of robbing a clerk at the Milton Discount Tobacco at gunpoint on April 27.

The program is going so well, in fact, that the state received a two-year federal grant to expand it to all posts, said Ali Parham, Post 5’s crime analyst.

One of Parham’s most important roles is that of ambassador, she said. “Commissioner Brewer absolutley wanted us to be ambassadors, to reach out to other agences in the post area,” she said. Those agencies “know I’m working for them, and not just KSP.

Crime analysts aren’t new to KSP. Detectives and troopers have always had access to the Intelligence Section based in Frankfort, Hayes said.

“But, it’s daunting to call Frankfort to get information, and a lot of outlying agencies didn’t know the resources existed,” he said. Having analysts “at post level, you can put a face to a name.”

As a crime analyst, Parham has access to numerous state and federal databases, which she uses to help investigators track down and gather any information that is available on suspects, Hayes said. She also is called on to study vehicle photos to try to determine make, model and year, or find distinguishing characteristics to help officers track the vehicle down.

The move toward sharing information came after Sept. 11, 2001, Hayes said. Federal agencies, including the FBI, had always been too protective of information and weren’t inclined to pass it along to state and local agencies.”

That’s important, because “it’s the trooper on the front lines making traffic stops who is most likely to run into people being sought for crimes.”

Parham said she has built a good relationship with sheriffs in Trimble, Henry and Oldham counties, and with area police departments. The regular intelligence meetings at post, she said, add to relationship-building between the agencies, as well.

“The plus side, the community is safer when [criminals] are in jail and not out victimizing people,” she said. “Reducing crime is one of the many benefits of solving crimes, along with preventing future crimes and helping victims get their property back.”

Coming together to share the information “allows us to put pieces together we might have missed, and to put the whole puzzle together, she said. And, once a suspect is caught, “you’ll see those crimes stop.”