Police Intelligence's Three-Headed Monster

Dashboard from Chicago Police data

There's a three (3)-headed monster required for good intelligence work:


This is where most minds go when thinking of intel or analysis. It's the collection, sorting, crunching, & figuring-out of data & information. This is surely the most technical. It's also becoming more & more automated (think: less human interaction with data).


But how should we present our findings? Written narrative? In-person briefings? Tables? Maps? Graphs? Dashboards? Animations? We must understand how human brains make sense of data visualization. We must ensure that the format or medium is appropriate for conveying the particular content. If the reader or listener doesn't understand it, we've failed!


I put this last, but it's the most important. Is the published information valuable to the "doers?" Can they operationalize it? Is it answering questions they are (or should be) asking? Is it relevant to their role? Are you targeting the appropriate audience, by delivering custom reports to what that group needs to know?

This is a tall order to expect the above diversity of a single person. But you better ensure these perspectives & attributes are covered within whatever team is handling your intelligence!

If you're not approaching intelligence as a complex team sport, then you're likely already failing - in the realms of biases, assumptions, red-teaming, & conformity.

As data analytics shifts towards AI, we are in need of better human judgement, opinion, & discernment. The functions of analysis & intelligence are requiring less technical skills ... & more thoughtfulness, more emotional intelligence, & more adaptive thinking.

I'm not particularly hopeful we have enough of what it'll take to do it well.


Source of the header photo: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/industry/blog/government/2016/03/03/predictive-policing-the-future-of-law-enforcement/


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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