Pros and Cons of ILP

Intelligence Led Policing (ILP) is an exciting development where intelligence can drive operations rather than police operations gaining intelligence to drive further operations. I’m in complete favor of state and local law enforcement using proven, data driven intelligence processes to innovate policing as long as the system contains safeguards to ensure its not racially biased and it doesn’t trample our civil liberties. I think a solidly developed ILP system can positively correct a current system of policing that is filled with injustice and is far from perfect. The ACLU recently wrote an excellent article that discusses how the “devil is in the data.” Poor inputs (even well-intentioned but skewed inputs) into computer algorithms produce terrible results. (

CON:One of the biggest discussions is the lack of a common ILP definition. (Alach, 2011: 76-79). This reminds me of our week one conversation with the definition of Homeland Security and my week two post that also involved issues of defined terms. Another issue is the utility of intelligence based policing and its “mission creep” into turning into a tool that dictates its own policy outcomes. (Alach, 2011: 83). Furthermore, intelligence dictating policy is increasingly more worrisome given that intelligence is becoming increasingly politicized. (Hastedt, 2013: 5). It’s worth noting that this article is over 8 years old and much has changed in both ILP’s common understanding via a refined definition as well as broader acceptance of the concept. Recently the DOJ conducted a study to identify best practices in ILP to improve the entire system of ILP as currently utilized within the US. (

PRO:ILP can be a future of policing where human error and poor judgment can take a backseat to mountains of data that help inform police about where crime is most likely to occur, who will commit future crimes, and best deployment of limited police resources to achieve police objectives. This requires good [unbiased] data and good algorisms. One pro is that it has been widely accepted, although Alach attributes this more to it becoming a “fad” than any noticeable improvement in outcomes. (Alach, 2011: 88). Only time will tell if that’s an accurate assessment.

Current Capability to “Connect the Dots”

Our assigned readings covered a broad swath of literature that seem, to me, to indicate that the 9/11 commission triggered significant reforms that strengthened the intelligence community but the reforms continue to fall short of the ideal system we need to continue protecting our safety. I think “The Struggle to Reform Intelligence after 9/11” does an excellent job paralleling the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act as first massive realignment of the behemoth National Security Act of 1947 that first created the CIA and began modern intelligence agencies as we know them. It’s unsurprising that the National Security Act of 1947 and the scattered process of agencies developing their own intelligence for their own purposes led to a fundamental inability to share intelligence prior to 9/11. In the same way that the NSA of 1947 was responsive to the intelligence shortcomings of World War II, the 2004 Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act is a reactive measure intended to address issues of 9/11.

While the NCTC and the ODNI are steps in the right direction, the fusion center concept seems to be widely understood as less successful and in need of immediate reform. (Taylor, R., & Russell, A., 2012). To me, I really liked Jason B. Jones’ recommendations to reform Intelligence sharing. He offered three suggestions, namely “providing greater incentives and oversight for information sharing to overcome institutional design and agency problems that lead to information hoarding, adopting a centralized approach to the implementation of guidelines relating to the classification of information, and modifying existing cooperative arrangements to maximize their effectiveness.” (Jones, 2011: 206)

Hopefully one day we can become more proactive in changing our federal bureaucracy to address the challenges of tomorrow rather than being incapable to stop a disaster and scrambling to fix the system afterwards. I know that’s easier said than done, and hopefully our conversations here will help shape the need to continue important reforms.

Please tear his response apart with a good peer review please add a question thank you.