Social Network Analysis: Using It On The Inside


I got into Social Network Analysis with the intention to disrupt Chicago street gang crime.

While it certainly helped us lock up bad guys, I soon starting applying the concepts INWARDLY — within police teams!!

It gave me a bit of insight into our internal networks —

We started to see how information flowed within teams & between individual police officers. And I saw chokepoints where information got clogged.

I learned who enjoyed being the bureaucratic Middle Man. (I think it’s a severe personality flaw, but that’s for another discussion!)

It became more apparent who the real influencers were. (No big surprise: It had little to do with rank & title.)

I recognized being an unnecessary pass-through, & am more purposeful in removing myself as such, & connecting people directly with each other.

We sought out communications platforms so teams & groups would be less fractured & more connected.

As Valdis Krebs calls it, it’s about better understanding the networked “wirearchy” within the hierarchy.

I just didn’t expect it to be so applicable internally!


Post photo is a redacted/anonymized snip from a now-closed police investigation into a street gang's auto theft activities. 


Lou Hayes, Jr. is a detective supervisor in a suburban Chicago police department. He's focused on multi-jurisdictional crime patterns & intelligence, through organic working groups compromised of investigators & analysts from a variety of agencies. With a passion for training, he studies human performance, decision-making, creativity, emotional intelligence, & adaptability. In 2021, he went back to college (remotely!), in hopes to finally finish his undergrad degree from the University of Illinois - Gies College of Business. Follow Lou on LinkedIn, & also the LinkedIn page for The Illinois Model


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