As the complexities and problems that plague law enforcement agencies continue to proliferate, the need to utilize every available tool has led to the application of expert systems to law enforcement activities. This first book to explore this application is both practical and conceptually clear as it explains the potential utility of expert systems and their impact on operations and management. Such systems can support command and control through computer-aided dispatching, assist in the solution of high volume crimes such as residential burglaries, aid in the design of programs for the apprehension and prosecution of career criminals and repeat offenders, upgrade personnel through enhanced training programs, and provide an improved method for the delivery of technical assistance and training services. Until now, literature to assist organizations that could benefit from this technology has been scarce. Ratledge and Jacoby have geared their discussions to a wide audience which includes both practitioners and the academic community. This handbook offers clear, systematic explanations of the applications of expert systems in the world of law enforcement. It discusses the impact of these systems on traditional ways of policing and crime solving, and details a set of practical guidelines for jurisdictions considering the use of expert systems. The text is designed to present information in an order that progresses from general to technical aspects of the subject.
The first two chapters provide an overview of expert systems as they apply to different law enforcement areas and discuss the policy issues they create. The next section describes practical applications of expert systems in computer-aided dispatching, crime solving, and training. Chapter 4 explains the basic steps in building expert systems, its terminology, and general characteristics. Chapter 5 offers an introduction to artificial intelligence and its uses in problem solving and expert systems. Written with the expert systems designer or data processing manager in mind, Chapter 6 reviews the problems encountered in linking inferencing to data processing and the efficiencies and technical requirements of the system. In Chapter 7, a case study of the Baltimore County Police Department's expert system for residential burglaries is presented and the steps taken in the development of that system are described. Included in the valuable appendices are a list of vendors, two bibliographies including an annotated one relating to current policing issues and one dealing with technical publications, and a glossary. This timely handbook will enable practitioners in criminal justice to make informed decisions regarding the implementation of expert systems. It also provides up-to-the-minute information for computer system consultants and academicians and students in computer science and criminal justice administration.