MERIDIAN -- As criminals use more and more technology in breaking the law, police say they have to use more and more technology to keep up. One of the ways they're doing that here in Idaho is with the Idaho Criminal Intelligence Center.
Major Kevin Hudgens with the Idaho State Police has served in law enforcement for around two decades. In that time, he's seen a lot change in how police work is done. "In the past, it was really up to the investigator to search all the different databases out there, which took time. And a lot of times, the investigator wouldn't get the information that they necessarily needed because those databases were limited."
But that's one of the things that's changed, thanks to ICIC. It has access to criminal databases and information from law enforcement agencies across the state and across the nation to help those agencies share vital information.
"It's that one-stop shop where police agencies can call and we have the ability to get that information out to them very quickly," says Hudgens.
ICIC fields more and more requests from law enforcement in and outside of Idaho every year.
"Criminals aren't static," says Hudgens. "They're moving around. They may live in Idaho but go and commit a crime in Utah."
Since they started in 2009, ICIC has assisted in thousands of cases, from drug activity to terrorism. Hudgens recounted one such case, "An agency called us looking for a suspected child molester, that had just moved to Idaho. Our analysts were able to get that information, and in a matter of hours find where that person was. And that agency was able to go out and make an arrest on that person."
ICIC is one of 77 similar centers across the U.S. Hudgens says with the cuts seen at all law enforcement agencies, they can help fill the gap and be a great shared resource. "With our analysts in this center, to be able to communicate with those other analysts in other areas, and start to put those pieces together, that's vitally important."
The center is funded entirely by federal grants, which are starting to dry up. But managers hope Idaho leaders realize how important ICIC's work is and the state picks up some of that funding.
The ICIC also has a public webpage where they get 20 to 30 tips on crime or terrorism every week.