Intelligence-Led Policing: Contributions to Community Resilience

Law enforcement’s role in expanding and improving “Whole of Community” resilience is continuing to develop at a rapid rate. In most communities, incorporating the concept known as “intelligence-led policing” continues to progress. Therefore, today’s police service agencies are now in aneal position to contribute substantively to strengthening community resilience across the nation’s public and private sectors.

Throughout U.S. history, the nation’s police service profession has been primarily reactive in nature: a call for help is made, and police service resources respond. An analysis of previous crime trends suggests that crime prevention patrols and other police resources have been mostly reactive in nature, rather than proactive. In contrast, intelligence-led policing is a forward-thinking, strategic, and targeted approach to “crime-based” risk management. Two noted British criminologists, Michael Maguire and Timothy John, stated in the March 2006 issue of Policing & Society that intelligence-led policing is “built around analysis and management of problems and risks, rather than reactive responses.” Intelligence-led policing in action incorporates: (a) the principles and best practices of community-oriented policing; with (b) strategic problem solving through improved data collection and predictive analytics.

The term “resilience” is defined in President Obama’s 30 March 2011 Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8) on National Preparedness as “adaptability to change,” while at the same time maximizing the ability to “withstand and recover from disruptions due to emergencies.” PPD-8 establishes a firm foundation for a more holistic national focus on community-based resilience to deal with any and all emergencies.

In describing this new Whole of Community approach, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Director Craig Fugate stated on 30 March 2011 before the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management, that the “government can and will continue to serve disaster survivors. However, we fully recognize that a government-centric approach to disaster management will not be enough to meet the challenges posed by a catastrophic incident. That is why we must fully engage our entire societal capacity.”

The Whole-of-Community approach itself is described in FEMA publication FDOC 104-008-1 (December 2011) as a “means by which residents, emergency management practitioners, organizational and community leaders, and government officials can collectively understand and assess the needs of their respective communities and determine the best ways to organize and strengthen their assets, capacities, and interests.”

Expanding & Enhancing Resource Efficiencies 

Considering the extent to which police resources are already constrained in many ways, the allocation of strategic resources that are based on predictive intelligence should enhance local effectiveness and maximize efficiencies, particularly when operational strategies include collaboration with other locally based public-sector and private-sector agencies and organizations. Moreover, as local emergency managers and political leaders become more familiar with the relatively new federal shift to community-wide involvement, police officials have much to contribute in leveraging police-led intelligence assets and processes to the community-based resilience planning for all emergencies.

Security, which is defined in PPD-8 as “the protection of the [community] and its people, vital interests, and way of life,” is a law-enforcement-led function that also is widely shared. The security function crosscuts all emergencies and risks. Therefore, community leaders and police officials can benefit greatly in planning and improving community-based resilience for all emergencies through the input of police-led intelligence. During the crisis-management phase of an emergency, intelligence-led policing networks, developed across the community’s public and private sectors, are invaluable for efficiently forecasting security requirements and contributing in many other ways to improve the overall situational awareness. Applying the predictive analytics inherent to intelligence-led policing programs – e.g., security and safety decision making leading up to (preparedness), during (response), and after (transition to recovery) the crisis management phase of an emergency – significantly enhances  overall Whole-of-Community resilience.

The Path Ahead: Incorporating Intelligence-Led Policing 

Community policing initiatives are designed primarily to spur collaboration and cooperation between police services and their surrounding neighborhoods and business districts. From an operational point of view, intelligence-led policing: (a) builds upon networks developed under the community policing initiatives mentioned above; (b) applies predictive analytics to data collection; (c) generates better resource allocation decisions; and (d) strengthens community resilience to the risks posed by terrorists and other criminals. All aspects of FEMA’s Whole of Community initiative incorporate strategic networking across the local bases of the public and private sectors to improve the community-level resilience needed to cope with any and all emergencies.

Local law enforcement agencies that maximize community access through social networks are already leveraging: (a) an incredible force multiplier – i.e., the local population – for near real-time situational awareness; and (b) a significantly expanded data source that can provide more, and improved, predictive analytics applicable to all emergencies. Also, through the use of broader source data that is effectively analyzed, greater clarity and accuracy of the situation is achieved. This contributes to clearer common operating pictures with cascading improvements to each response discipline’s user operating picture of any and all emergencies. During protracted emergencies, assigning a unit of the police agency’s intelligence section to the Incident Command System (ICS) Planning Section can greatly enhance the forward analytic accuracy and recommendations provided to the ICS General Staff. Thereby, police agencies become an integral component of the incident management decision processes.

All emergencies, regardless of their size, necessarily entail at least a few security function requirements. Nonetheless, the integration of intelligence-led policing processes and capacities into the Whole-of-Community initiatives now coming to the fore greatly enhance local resilience in, across, and throughout all five pillars of the overall national planning framework: prevention, protection, response, recovery, and mitigation.


For additional information on: Presidential Policy Directive 8 (PPD-8): National Preparedness (30 March 2011), visit

FEMA publication number FDOC 104-008-1 (December 2011), visit

Maguire and John’s “Intelligence led policing, managerialism and community engagement: Competing priorities and the role of the National Intelligence Model in the UK” article in Policing & Society, March 2006, visit

Joseph W. Trindal

As founder and president of Direct Action Resilience LLC, Joseph Trindal leads a team of retired federal, state, and local criminal justice officials providing consulting and training services to public and private sector organizations enhancing leadership, risk management, preparedness, and police services. He serves as a senior advisor to the U.S. Department of Justice, International Criminal Justice Training and Assistance Program (ICITAP) developing and leading delivery of programs that build post-conflict nations’ capabilities for democratic policing and applied modern investigative techniques. After a 20-year career with the U.S. Marshals Service, where he served as chief deputy U.S. marshal and ERT incident commander, he accepted the invitation in 2002 to become part of the leadership standing up the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as director at Federal Protective Service for the National Capital Region. He serves on the Partnership Advisory Council at the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST). He also serves on the International Association of Chiefs of Police, International Managers of Police Academy and College Training. He was on faculty as an instructor at George Washington University. He is past president of the InfraGard National Capital Region Members Alliance. He has published numerous articles, academic papers, and technical counter-terrorism training programs. He has two sons on active duty in the U.S. Navy. Himself a Marine Corps veteran, he holds degrees in police science and criminal justice. He has contributed to the Domestic Preparedness Journal since 2006 and is a member of the Preparedness Leadership Council.



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