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COPS COULD HIT THE LINKS SOON NEW SEARCH ENGINE WOULD CATALOG, INTERPRET DATA FOR INVESTIGATIONS.

Byline: Jason Kandel Staff Writer

Los Angeles Police Department Assistant Chief George Gascon is seeking $750,000 in grants and donations to purchase a new computer application that consolidates nationwide crime data and arrest reports, which would aid local detectives in solving criminal investigations.

Coplink searches through millions of pieces of data in various computer arrest reports, crime records, field interviews and traffic citation reports, and delivers a list of leads to detectives instantaneously.

``My goal is to find money in the next couple of weeks,'' Gascon said. ``I want to have this up and running by February. I think we can save lives with this thing.''

Coplink, developed at an artificial intelligence lab at the University of Arizona in 1996 and procured through a $1.2 million grant through the U.S. Department of Justice in 1998 is being implemented in cities, counties and federal government agencies nationwide.

Several metropolitan police agencies in cities such as Boston, New York and Tampa have been considering using it or already are using it. Even federal agencies such as the CIA and FBI are seeking the system.

LAPD Detective Jeffrey Godown said Coplink would cut hundreds of hours out of detectives' work and would offer up clues that could be overlooked by human error.

Coplink would be attached to the 20 criminal databases the LAPD already uses. The new system would search any kind of police contact with suspects, victims and witnesses that has been recorded in their databases.

``With all those database systems we have, it makes it difficult to query each one,'' Godown said. ``It makes it difficult to take all the information and tie it together to ultimately find the bad guy. Coplink searches it all at once. It's like a one-stop shop system. There isn't anything like that in this department.''

Gascon has been looking for funding from private firms, which he would not identify. He's been talking to city officials to get input on ways to raise money for the project.

``I'm not looking for city funding because I know we don't have it, but for some help,'' he said. ``I'm on the warpath right now.''

Eventually, Gascon said, he hopes to get terminals installed in every station in across the city, so that officers and detectives can access the new database.

Jason Kandel, (818) 713-3664

jason.kandel(at)dailynews.com
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Statistical Data Included
Date:Dec 6, 2003
Words:394
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