State, local, tribal, and federal partners, along with several national law enforcement organizations, have collaborated to develop the Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI). Although the initiative began as an operational study project, it is currently an evaluation environment involving multiple pilot projects throughout the United States. The effort will be evolving into a national program to share terrorism-related SAR data at all levels of government. The NSI incorporates agencies’ individual SAR processes into a nationwide capability to share terrorism-related SAR data. The SAR process focuses on what law enforcement has been doing for years—gathering information regarding behaviors and incidents associated with crime and establishing a process to share information to detect and prevent criminal activity, including crime associated with domestic and international terrorism.
The NSI was formalized by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), Program Manager for the Information Sharing Environment (PM-ISE), with the Bureau of Justice Assistance providing overall program management services to PM-ISE. The IJIS Institute and the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) are working together on this program and providing technical management, business analyst and system integration services to BJA to establish a 14 pilot site Evaluation Environment referred to as the ISE-SAR EE. Pilot sites include fusion centers in three states, nine major cities, and at DHS and the FBI. The purpose of the ISE-SAR EE is to evaluate best practices in the observation, gathering, analysis, evaluation and reporting of suspicious behaviors or activity that may have a potential link with terrorist organizations to include strict attention to the protection of civil liberties and citizen privacy.
Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting Initiative (NSI)
The challenge: Lack of a technical information sharing architecture and data exchange standards inhibit the effective and timely sharing of information that may be indicative of planned terrorist actions or related criminal activities. The solution: Establishment of the SAR Information Exchange Package Documentation (IEPD) and the deployment of distributed repository, search, and retrieval IT resources to permit the application of operational and technical best practices to support a national rollout of the NSI. Read the IJIS Institute case study.
ISE-SAR Functional Standard
A NIEM-conformant IEPD for suspicious activity reporting. Use this document to accelerate interoperable implementation of SAR with and among fusion centers and to align implementation with national best practices.
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IJIS Institute representatives developed recommendations on the standardization and nationwide adoption of the SAR IEPDs to several influential organizations representing urban, state and federal fusion center interests. Adoption of these standards will offer the potential of substantial savings to fusion centers seeking to leverage information sharing.
“I want to express my sincere appreciation for all those folks from the IJIS Institute, Tetrus Consulting Group, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, and the Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR) that have been supporting the Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Pilot Project. The progress that has been made on this project is remarkable and has much to do with the right people in the right positions and clear leadership from the top. We are making headway in an area that I sincerely believe will make a difference at the end of the day in the quality of our police work and in enhancements to national security.”
Jennifer Cook Pritt
Director, Florida Fusion Center