Law Enforcement Data Sharing: It’s Not an Option




Polk, Jeremy

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Law enforcement case information mostly exists within the silo walls of each individual agency. The FBI runs the N-DEx (National Data Exchange) that collects law enforcement case information, making it available to other agencies through an online search portal. Some Texas agencies voluntarily contribute to this database in conjunction with their records management systems (RMS), but only a relatively small number out of all in Texas (and the nation) participate (“Texas Data Exchange,” n.d.). Making an agency’s case and suspect information available to all law enforcement entities seems like a common-sense approach to law enforcement in the 21st century, yet the simple act of sharing information has not taken its rightful place in mainstream law enforcement today. Many professional decisions are made without all available information, and worse yet, made without regard to the work and experience that has come before them. In addition to better statewide information sharing, it is likely all police agency divisions could work together and more efficiently if they had a more complete picture of any given situation. Any new mandate or additional workload provided to a police agency by an outside influence can create resistance or opposition based on the challenges presented by that new process. Technology is not exempt from this phenomenon and any list of problems to be overcome with the implementation of new technology or policy is not often a short one. However, the problems named in the realm of information sharing are easily overcome or have already been solved. Therefore, the State of Texas should mandate police department data sharing and contribution to the FBI N-DEx database.



Administration of Criminal Justice Data Processing, Administration of Criminal Justice Information Network, Intergovernmental Cooperation