This year marks the fourth anniversary of the Westchester Intelligence Center (WIC), an essential and cost-effective collaboration among local, state and federal law enforcement agencies that work here in Westchester County. WIC serves as a clearinghouse for information, both intelligence from police sources and data from a wide range of online sources. At WIC, analysts and law enforcement officers track crime trends and assist in solving individual cases. With 42 local police departments and numerous state and federal agencies, this coordinated sharing of information is essential, and as Westchester County’s chief law enforcement officer, I made the creation of WIC a top priority when I became District Attorney.
WIC analysts have access to extensive online resources that an individual police department, because of its size or budget, might not be able to access. With these resources, WIC analysts conduct a wide range of support activities for partner agencies, including developing and enhancing evidence and leads in a case, and assisting detectives in locating suspects by identifying locations to which they may have a connection. By analyzing financial or electronic communications data, WIC analysts have uncovered previously unreported criminal activity. In real time, WIC researchers have refuted or verified information offered by suspects in interrogations.
In 2011, WIC partner agencies were given information on patterns of ATM skimming (the illegal placement of a camera and card-reading device to record bank card and pin numbers as they are punched in by card owners) that had occurred outside of Westchester. This information allowed WIC partners to respond quickly with a task force to share information among law enforcement agencies when ATM skimming was reported in Westchester County. The work of the task force led to more than half a dozen arrests related to ATM skimming.
WIC has developed highly effective approaches in investigating electronic communications and regularly assists police departments by providing needed information quickly. WIC analysts recently used mobile phone data to support the search for a suspect who was wanted in connection with the stabbing of his ex-girlfriend. The suspect was arrested as he was attempting to leave the area.
WIC’s work also enhances coordination among law enforcement agencies. Last year, a WIC analyst supporting a child pornography investigation discovered that two different law enforcement agencies were conducting concurrent investigations. WIC notified both agencies, allowing coordination of efforts, and the FBI arrested the suspect. In another instance, a WIC analyst identified the connection between two separate investigations, one of which involved a suspect seeking to ship weapons-related contraband to a high risk nation. WIC hosts monthly meetings where I meet with police commissioners and chiefs from various departments to share information on countywide crime trends and coordinate our efforts on public safety issues.
WIC analysts work in partnership with agencies including the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the United States Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the United States Secret Service, the New York State Police and the Westchester County Department of Public Safety. The Westchester County Department of Public Safety provides resources and personnel to the WIC. As a NY/NJ High Intensity Drug Trafficking Awareness (HIDTA) supported regional intelligence center, WIC receives federal funding to assist in its work.
The Westchester Intelligence Center continues to be an extremely valuable and cost-effective resource, assisting local police departments and identifying crime trends as we work together to protect and keep Westchester residents safe.
To read more about the Westchester Intelligence Center and the work of the District Attorney’s Office, visit www.westchesterda.net