TitleAn exploratory study of the perceived utility and effectiveness of state fusion centers
NameGraphia, Renee Dianne (author), Samuels, Norman (chair), Kennedy, Leslie (internal member), Finckenauer, James (internal member), Carter, David (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - Newark,
Intelligence service--United States,
Criminal justice, Administration of--United States
DescriptionAfter the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the 9/11 Commission concluded that the nation's intelligence agencies had failed to "connect the dots," and improving the country's intelligence capabilities among all levels of government has been highly prioritized. While several federal initiatives were proposed to overcome "the wall" inhibiting information flow between agencies, a subfederal response was the establishment of fusion centers. Briefly, fusion centers are multiagency facilities tasked with improving the collection, analysis and dissemination of information and intelligence within the law enforcement community as well as between public and private sector partners. They are designed to maximize resources, streamline operations, and improve law enforcement's ability to fight crime and terrorism through all-source analysis and dissemination of information. Due to their relative newness, several issues currently remain unclear. Specifically, little research exists addressing whether fusion centers are fulfilling their intended functions, to what degree they have facilitated changes in how law enforcement understands and uses threat information, whether they are perceived effective, and whether they are innovative. Using case study design and qualitative methods, this study explored the perceived efficacy of fusion centers, using data collected from open-ended, semi-structured interviews and site visits. Using purposive and convenience sampling techniques, forty-nine (N=49) individuals offering a range of perspectives participated. Participants were solicited from, or affiliated with, four separate state fusion centers. In addition, individuals from key federal organizations and others with expert knowledge on the subject matter were interviewed for this research. The study's findings indicate that while fusion centers are partially fulfilling their designated tasks, they continue to struggle with several challenges. Although they have improved law enforcement's information collection and sharing capabilities, they have yet to develop robust analytical capabilities, or to overcome other obstacles. Moreover, the findings from this study suggest that the threat of terrorism is perceived as neither paramount nor trivial to fusion centers; however, fusion centers are perceived as valuable resources to address other criminal threats. The findings from this research have important policy implications for practitioners, as well as being a source from which future research regarding fusion center's processes and products can be empirically designed.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references
Noteby Renee Dianne Graphia
CollectionGraduate School - Newark Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.