Friday, March 17, 2000

Police setting up Internet sharing

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Tristate police are turning to the Internet to better coordinate investigations. Even in the time of the Instant Message, detectives are constantly reminded that they're not connected enough, said Roger Robbins of the Cincinnati Police Division's burglary squad. They often learn too late and only by luck that another department just a few miles away is working, for example, on a similar string of robberies.

        To foster more communication, detectives from both sides of the river are setting up new e-mail, fax and Web site methods of working together. Officers from throughout Greater Cincinnati, including Amberley Village, Norwood and Covington, met this week to talk strategy and start comparing notes.

        “We can eliminate the shots in the dark,” Detective Robbins said. “At least we can try.”

        A recent example: Cincinnati officers struggled with a string of downtown thefts. They worked on the case alone, trying to track down the suspect.

        “Come to find out, Florence wanted the same guy and so did Covington,” Detective Robbins said. “There are three or four different agencies looking for him.”

        He also reminded the detectives about the serial rapist who has been hitting homes since April 1998 north of Cincinnati. Warmer weather might be a likely time for him to resurface, he said, and he could do so anywhere.

        Covington Detective Jim Coots got involved in the group because he sees a lot of potential for getting help on his cases. It makes sense, he said, that a suspect in any kind of crime could be wanted in many other cities.

        The group, Det. Robbins hopes, will eventually grow to include departments farther south into Kentucky and farther north of Cincinnati.

        “You never know what information we can get from these agencies,” he said. “It only makes sense.”


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