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IT in Law Enforcement

By coptechs ·
I am looking for some direction. I have been a police officer for 12 years now and always had an interest in computers and technology. Last year I had the opportunity to work on the implementation of a new software package that consisted of a CAD (Computer Aided Dispatch) module, RMS (Records Management System) and Mobile system (wireless dispatch, reporting, inquiries, etc.). I focused primarily on the mobile aspect and also became interested in wireless technologies such as MESH, CDMA, EVDO, etc.

I can retire in 8 years or so and would like to start preparing myself for another career in IT as it relates to Law Enforcement. Problem is, most of what I know is either self taught or application specific; I have no real formal computer training or certifications other than a class or two in college. I have looked at the various certifications but am not sure which would be most appropriate for what I am looking to do.

I am thinking I would like to do consulting and/or network admin for small to mid-sized police agencies focusing on the specific CAD, RMS, Mobile applications as well as wireless (which pretty much goes hand in hand with the Mobile software applications).

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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by angry_white_male In reply to IT in Law Enforcement

Does your agency have a computer crime unit? If not - you can start the ball rolling. Talk to your bosses, make a business case for it.

Most larger police departments have a unit that deals specifically with computer crime. That is really where the growth is in law enforcement.

A lot of CAD systems are designed by 3rd parties who have expertise in this field, but may need the perspective of the 911 operator, dispatcher, cop, or top brass to design the system to meet the needs of a particular agency. The actual management of the system from an IT perspective can get very technical and requires very strong network admin and database admin skills.

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Re:Computer crime unit

by coptechs In reply to

I'm really not interested in computer crime or computer forensics. I am more interested in the administration of the computer system itself (specifically CAD, RMS, Mobile and wireless technologies) that may be in place or are being implemented.

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start getting trained/educated

by jck In reply to Re:Computer crime unit

as much as possible and after your earliest possible retirement date, wait for an upper job with the government IT department, under which your police department works, to open up.

That way, you can work toward a new government retirement (maybe even get years credit on a new pension) if your police pension is seperate, or you can add to the one you have with the goverment.

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I've seen several guys go that route

by DC_GUY In reply to IT in Law Enforcement

The first step they all took was to transfer into the IT department of their own municipality. The people had already worked with them and knew what they were getting into. Not to mention they had made a lot of friends who pulled the necessary strings.

Once you get a few years in at a civil service IT department, you can start looking around. But don't stay there too long. There's lots of good experience to be had in government shops, but government employees with "excessive stability" are regarded skeptically in the private sector. At the most charitable, people think they won't be able to adapt to a private sector culture, at the worst they simply think they're lazy or not housebroken.

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Re: IT in law enforcement

by Info-Safety, LLC In reply to IT in Law Enforcement

Why don't you check out your local community college, and see what type of courses they offer? You can probably get some of what you seek from an IT program, and other things from Administration of Justice/Law Enforcement courses. Since you have several years, you can just pick and choose whatever suits your fancy.

Once you feel that you have some proficiency, you may be able to informally become the inhouse computer geek, which should be fun for you and give you additional experience before you retire.

Good luck.

Craig Herberg

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IT/Law inforcement

by kingzanj In reply to IT in Law Enforcement

The best route is for you to consult with a consuler at a local community college. Once you find out the course just choose three to four key subjects then take CCNA & MCSA Certification self passed study.

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Gotta know your base.

by cbglenn In reply to IT in Law Enforcement

So, if you are self-taught and not very educated, what do you know? There is a saying, "anyone knows just enough to be dangerous".

For the details you gave, it would be easy to say, take a CCNA course for the basics in networking and work a CWNA for wireless admin. while looking up many articles on security. As you study the first two tracks, the security will make more sense. You may even need to study up on the XP operating system and get an MCP cert. Is that enough acronymology for you??

Here's the dig -- Even if you do all of the above, you will just be a "paper-cert" if you have no real experience. If you are not able to jump over to the IT side as yet, then going back to school may really be the way to go. At least you have access to labs which give you hands-on exercise in much of what you will be learning. You will also learn IT in the "theory" mode which will make you more than a simple technician. But just spitting out a bunch of acronyms to pave your own yellow brick road will not really serve you well.

You need to:
1. Write down what you know you know.
2. Write down what you know you do not know.
3. List the things in more detail that you want to be able to do.
4. Go to a Comm. College and present yourself to a Guidnace Counselor (who knows something about IT) to analyze your direction. You can also look at sites like CertCities.com or Cramsession.com to do some seraching.

Either way, you need to know your foundation and the blue print for your house before you start building it.

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Get your CISSP

by dinotech In reply to IT in Law Enforcement

Right now, information security is very important. With your 12 years of law enforcement, you qualify to take the CISSP certification. You will have to learn security in terms of IT, but you will find that most of your experience in law enforcement will dovetail nicely to a career in IT Security. Here is one link to the CISSP and what it covers:
https://www.isc2.org/cgi/content.cgi?category=19

Also, here is the requirements for taking the CISSP: https://www.isc2.org/cgi/content.cgi?category=1187

Or you can look at www.isc2.org for more information.

Good luck!!

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IT in Law Enforcement

by michael.redmond In reply to IT in Law Enforcement

I would seriously spend some time really getting into learning the ends and outs of the program you installed. then learn the essence of how this program really works and how you might implement it elsewhere. What I have recently seen interest in is programs that interface with the National Crime Database as well as the State and possible local programs. Municipalities are looking for ways to interface and check for warrants easier as well as process prisoners and such easier intl the jail. recently I have also seen a push to automate crime statistics and provide for ease of magistrate use. Alot of cities and counties are also looking for means to do real-time video magistrate, or kiosk based payment of parking and speeding type tickets. So there is a niche business, you just need to get involved.

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