Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Presentation is loading. Please wait.

Homicide Investigation Tracking System: Evaluation Study Report presentation to: Office of the Attorney General Rob McKenna Presented by Charles Johnson,

Similar presentations


Presentation on theme: "Homicide Investigation Tracking System: Evaluation Study Report presentation to: Office of the Attorney General Rob McKenna Presented by Charles Johnson,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Homicide Investigation Tracking System: Evaluation Study Report presentation to: Office of the Attorney General Rob McKenna Presented by Charles Johnson, Nicholas Lovrich, Michael Gaffney & Noelle Fearn Division of Governmental Studies and Services Washington State University February 8, 2007

2 DGSS - February DISCLAIMER Points of view or opinions in this document are those of the Washington State University DGSS Evaluation Research Team, and they do not represent the official position or the policies of the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Washington.

3 DGSS - February Genesis of The HITS Evaluation Study Criminal justice doctoral student in search of an “applied” dissertation topic [Prior experience with DNA backlog estimation project in DGSS – NIJ project] Introduced to the HITS Program by Detective Lt. Jim West, Wenatchee PD Meeting with HITS Program Jim Hansen and Rick Grabenstein in Spokane (Spring 2005) Subsequent meeting with Scott Blonien, Darryl Roosendaal & investigation team in Seattle (Spring 2005) WSU Faculty members Nicholas Lovrich, Noelle Fearn and Otwin Marenin agree to serve on HITS study-based dissertation committee

4 DGSS - February Project funding approved $20,919 (including university 26%) Funding only covered survey preparation and mailing costs Support of doctoral student Charles Johnson was provided by the Division of Governmental Studies & Services in the Department of Political Science & Criminal Justice at WSU  Additional support staff assisted on the evaluation report Ruth Self Teri Herold-Prayer Patricia Bireley Christina Sanders Jane Estocin-Klaiber Carol Wollweber Genesis of The HITS Evaluation Study Report (continued)

5 DGSS - February This presentation will: 1. Outline the evaluation study methodology 2. Set forth major findings 3. Present principal recommendations

6 DGSS - February Data were collected with the intent of capturing field- based perceptions and beliefs regarding two important aspects of Law Enforcement Information Sharing on Criminal Investigations 1.Relevancy of HITS technology Who uses it in their investigatory work? Does it assist in crime investigation/prevention? 2.Utility of services provided by HITS personnel What does the HITS team offer local law enforcement that they cannot get elsewhere? Are those services being used, and if so, by whom? Is anybody being left out who would benefit?

7 DGSS - February Methodology Self-administered written surveys (3-wave mailing process) were sent to: Police Chiefs & Sheriffs (n=177; response rate = 64%) Police Chiefs from 215 municipalities Tribal Chiefs from 21 tribal law enforcement agencies Sheriffs from all 39 counties in Washington Supervising Criminal Investigators Full Cross-section of the state (n=158; rr 55%) Criminal Investigators Full cross-section of the state (n=565; rr 52%)

8 DGSS - February HITS Program investigator/analysts completed a self-administered written survey (n=6 + 1 staff support member) Online Survey Sent to everyone on the HITS bulletin recipient list 2,399 (n=643, rr 27%) Subset including only those with investigative duties was drawn (n=219) Methodology, continued

9 DGSS - February Methodology, continued FOCUS GROUPS, Type 1 In-person Basic homicide class, Vancouver, WA (n=30) Participants included criminal investigators from city, county, and state agencies FBI Interrogation class, Cheney, WA (n=9) Participants were from Spokane city and county, and from Washington DOC [Attendees (n=33) represented city, county, tribal agencies as well as FBI]

10 DGSS - February Methodology, continued FOCUS GROUPS, Type 2 Conducted at a distance Telephone Interviews (July 17 & 18, 2006) Police Chiefs and Sheriffs (n=8) Supervising investigators (n=5)

11 DGSS - February Survey Respondents Represented all 9 Districts

12 DGSS - February DISTRIBUTION OF AGENCIES PARTICIPATING IN THE 2006 POLICE CHIEF AND SHERIFF SURVEY BY AGENCY WORKFORCE SIZE Number of sworn officers in agency

13 DGSS - February Overview of Principal Research Findings HITS fills a significant void left by the FBI’s ViCAP ViCAP is voluntary, and compliance rate is < 6% 900/17,456 agencies that report crimes to the FBI for the UCRs In contrast, HITS contains detailed information about nearly 100% of murders that have been committed in Washington since the mid-1980s

14 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued Which of the following major crime database resources do you see as being the best overall database for crime scene, criminal, and victim information? These results show a definitive choice of HITS over ViCAP

15 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued Fully 92.2% of criminal investigators who responded to this question indicated some use of HITS services Survey respondents were asked to comment on the extent of their reliance on various criminal investigation databases HITS

16 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued LINx (Law Enforcement Information Exchange) Some 41.7% of criminal investigators indicated some use of LINx

17 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued RAIN (King County, Washington) Nearly one- third (30.7%) of criminal investigators indicated some use of RAIN

18 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued COPLINK COPLINK is a relatively new database, and it is expensive to implement. Thusly, most criminal investigators have not yet used it. A recent $7 million contract was agreed on that will result in the connection of 45 local law enforcement agencies in the Los Angeles region The senior V.P. of sales for COPLINK estimated that Spokane’s core cost to implement COPLINK will be $300,000 +

19 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued HITS was also ranked high in use among supervising investigators

20 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued Overall, 89.7% of Police Chief and Sheriffs reported some use of HITS

21 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued The W.S.U. evaluation research team was rather surprised to learn that nearly all of the Police Chiefs and Sheriffs surveyed rejected the FBI’s ViCAP program as their primary database The data show that Criminal investigators, supervisors, and chiefs concur that HITS is more beneficial to them than is ViCAP

22 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued HITS has an 85% favorability rating among its users This figure is based on respondents’ satisfaction with HITS services and program personnel, and their confidence that assistance provided by the HITS team will result in getting the information needed to help solving or preventing crime Only 4 out of 293 (1.4%) criminal investigators indicated that they were unfamiliar with HITS!

23 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings, continued “The apparent dismissal of the FBI’s ViCap program by criminal investigators (in the state) indicates that HITS has been successful in securing its place as a legitimate source for crime scene, criminal, and victim information”

24 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings Critic’s Corner Rapes/Sexual Assaults are not being adequately tracked by the HITS unit HITS Investigators were asked, “What percentage of the active sex crime cases of the agencies within your support jurisdiction is submitted to HITS?”

25 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings Critic’s Corner (continued) “The F.B.I. notes that 2,811 forcible rapes were reported in Washington State during Only 45 rapes were entered into the HITS rape file during the ten-month period ending on April 26, 2006.”

26 DGSS - February “There is evidence in this evaluation report to support the supposition that familiarity with HITS by Police Chiefs and Sheriffs, as is the case with supervisors and investigators, only scratches the surface of potential benefits to be derived from the HITS program. Many of the database capabilities and HITS unit services are relatively untapped by law enforcement.” Overview of Research Findings Critic’s Corner (continued) Many services offered by the HITS team are not familiar to intended users

27 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings Critic’s Corner (continued) Question: What would you imagine the response would be if practicing criminal investigators and their supervisors were asked if they were aware of specific services available to them at no cost, if such services are critical to the prevention and/or clearance of serious violent crimes? Following is a list of such responses. Percentages indicate lack of awareness

28 DGSS - February TopicCriminal Inv.Supervising Inv. Basic Investigations Training31.8%39.5% Basic Homicide Inv. Training21.7%26.7% Advanced Homicide Inv. Training34.5%33.0% HITS Cold Case Assistance28.5%[1]24.1%[1] Cold Case Assist Outside Agency47.0%[2]37.9%[2] Cold Case Unit Development Assist36.7%40.7% Expert Witness Testimony Assist55.6%52.9% How Death Occurred Assistance41.0%40.7% Interrogation Technique Assistance48.0%53.5% Crime Timeline Assistance62.4%55.3% DNA Analysis Assistance49.5%52.9% Gang Affiliation Information59.2%50.5% Criminal Profiling49.4%48.4% Crime Mapping82.1%81.0% Archival Motor Vehicle Records67.9%67.9% Archival Driver Licensing Records65.9%57.8% [1] This percentage dropped to 16.2% when data were filtered to include only investigators who work at least 75% of their time on homicide or rape/sexual assault investigations. [1] [2] This percentage increased to 76.3% when data were filtered to include only investigators who work at least 75% of their time on homicide or rape/sexual assault investigations. [2] Overview of Research Findings Critic’s Corner (continued)

29 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings Critic’s Corner (continued) When given the opportunity to comment on ways in which the HITS program could improve, survey respondents frequently asked for services that the HITS team currently offers! There is clearly a need for the HITS team to better communicate its offerings

30 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings Critic’s Corner (continued) Criminal investigators wish to have crime information NOW – immediate access is highly desired They want it at their desktop, available via a secure Internet linkage BUT, they still want the personal interaction of the HITS investigator/analysts, citing their knowledge and experience They are reluctant to share information for fear that hold-back details will be compromised They want everyone else’s information

31 DGSS - February Overview of Research Findings Critic’s Corner (continued) One Police Chief or Sheriff commented, “It has not been apparent that HITS has provided any real value to assist law enforcement agencies in solving crimes.” Researchers posed this statement to Police Chiefs and Sheriffs during the telephone focus group interviews. These were SOME the responses documented: “False. I think they have gotten quite a bit of information on some of the HITS stuff.” “It’s very apparent that they assist us. We have a history of great support if you go all the way back to even into the 90’s up into 2000, especially with the serial homicide cases that we have had here.” “I would say that it has been a very positive resource. I will make one editorial comment in that over the last three years the then-Attorney General’s office reduced the staffing and financial support for HITS and I think that was a mistake.” “I agree with all of them as well.”

32 DGSS - February Recommendations HITS unit should improve awareness of HITS program services Refocus the mission to include non-familial rapes/sexual assaults in the database The inclusion of these data will help to solve other crimes due to the shear amount of data to be gathered Investigate the feasibility of offering access to the databases via secure internet connection This will ensure the continued viability of HITS in the face of competition From an online survey: “There is no doubt that rapes and sex crimes which I investigate primarily have not all been reported. The forms are or were too long and time-consuming, which would leave me filling out your forms with no time for reports.”

33 DGSS - February Recommendations (continued) These recommendations will probably necessitate a significant upgrade of the database software Additional HITS personnel will be needed “The Attorney General’s Office has failed to provide a sufficient level of financial and personnel support to ‘HITS’.” – Comment from a Police Chief or Sheriff More investigator/analysts will be needed, especially those with knowledge and experience in rape/sexual assault investigation Several people should be trained to effectively query the database Investigator/analysts revealed in the survey that they are not confident that their queries of the current database would result in satisfactory responses

34 DGSS - February Recommendations (continued) The combination of the HITS database, the people who work with the database, those who serve as investigator/analysts, and the process by which they work together places the HITS program in a league largely of its own. Implementation of these recommendations will aid the HITS program in maintaining its proper place in the state’s law enforcement community. The result will be that local law enforcement in Washington will continue to be served locally, and at a price they can afford

35 DGSS - February Thank you for the opportunity to work with your office on the HITS Program Evaluation Study. Charles Johnson Nicholas Lovrich On behalf of the Division of Governmental Studies and Services, Washington State University


Download ppt "Homicide Investigation Tracking System: Evaluation Study Report presentation to: Office of the Attorney General Rob McKenna Presented by Charles Johnson,"

Similar presentations


Ads by Google