Assessing an automated, information -sharing technology in the post "9 -11" era: Do local law enforcement officers think it meets their needs?

Martin J Zaworski, Florida International University


In the wake of the “9-11” terrorists' attacks, the U.S. Government has turned to information technology (IT) to address a lack of information sharing among law enforcement agencies. This research determined if and how information-sharing technology helps law enforcement by examining the differences in perception of the value of IT between law enforcement officers who have access to automated regional information sharing and those who do not. It also examined the effect of potential intervening variables such as user characteristics, training, and experience, on the officers' evaluation of IT. The sample was limited to 588 officers from two sheriff's offices; one of them (the study group) uses information sharing technology, the other (the comparison group) does not. Triangulated methodologies included surveys, interviews, direct observation, and a review of agency records. Data analysis involved the following statistical methods: descriptive statistics, Chi-Square, factor analysis, principal component analysis, Cronbach's Alpha, Mann-Whitney tests, analysis of variance (ANOVA), and Scheffe' post hoc analysis. ^ Results indicated a significant difference between groups: the study group perceived information sharing technology as being a greater factor in solving crime and in increasing officer productivity. The study group was more satisfied with the data available to it. As to the number of arrests made, information sharing technology did not make a difference. Analysis of the potential intervening variables revealed several remarkable results. The presence of a strong performance management imperative (in the comparison sheriff's office) appeared to be a factor in case clearances and arrests, technology notwithstanding. As to the influence of user characteristics, level of education did not influence a user's satisfaction with technology, but user-satisfaction scores differed significantly among years of experience as a law enforcement officer and the amount of computer training, suggesting a significant but weak relationship. ^ Therefore, this study finds that information sharing technology assists law enforcement officers in doing their jobs. It also suggests that other variables such as computer training, experience, and management climate should be accounted for when assessing the impact of information technology. ^

Subject Area

Political Science, Public Administration

Recommended Citation

Zaworski, Martin J, "Assessing an automated, information -sharing technology in the post "9 -11" era: Do local law enforcement officers think it meets their needs?" (2004). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3130424.