Some who read this may take it as a rant against agencies/providers who say we need more money for implementing law enforcement information sharing (LEIS), but in-fact, this post is really about understanding the landscape and influencing the choices and priorities of state and county policymakers and the affected law enforcement executives.
Let me first layout the agency landscape :
- There are about 14,000 state and local law enforcement agencies;
- In roughly 3,000 counties;
- That make up the 50 states of our great nation.
Now let’s layout the funding landscape:
- For 2008 the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) allocated $3,200,000,000 (billion) for state and local assistance grants;
- In that same year, the Department of Justice (DOJ) made another $2,000,000,000 available;
- For 2008 that’s a total of $4,200,000,000;
- For 2007 that number was $4,500,000,000;
- For 2009, we are hoping that number stays about the same or goes even higher.
- To all these numbers you must add funding from the Department of Defense, Department of Transportation, Department of Health and Human Services, or State funding sources for LEIS.
Finally, let me lay out the cost landscape for LEIS:
- In my eight or so years of experience of building and deploying LEIS, I’ve seen the costs associated with hooking up an agency to vary between $5,000 and $80,000 per record system connection;
- On average though, I feel the safer number is between about $20,000 and $40,000;
- For arguments sake, let’s use the high number of $40,000.
Now comes the fun part…let’s do some math…
- To be realistic, let’s say that 25% of the 14,000 agencies are already sharing information;
- That leaves about 10,000 agencies left to connect;
- At $40,000 an agency, we would need a total of $560,000,000 (Million);
- Divide that by the 3,000 counties, and we will need about $190,000 per county;
- If we do this over three years, that’s only $63,000 per county, per year for three years!
With (on average) every county getting about $1,400,000 every year for law enforcement and public safety (out of the $4.2 Billion allocated annualy), I would like to think that we (collectively) can see the benefits of LEIS enough to spare $63,000 a year for three years to get it done.
Here’s where the issue of choices and priorities comes in. If we can agree that the money IS there, what we really need to work on are ways to convince the policymakers and law enforcement exectutives in those counties that investing a little in LEIS is a better investment than whatever it is their currently spending their part of the $4,200,000,000 on. Do you agree?
I’d also like to know what role youthink the IACP, MCC and NSA would play here?
Thoughts and comments invited…and yes, I used a calculator…;-)