Drug overdose deaths have more than doubled in the United States since the start of the Millennium. The National Institutes of Health reports the number of people who died from drug overdoses in 2016 exceeded that of homicides, injury by firearms, motor vehicle accidents and suicides among others.

But that’s only what’s being reported. Many areas are small, rural areas and don’t even have the capabilities or funding to do the toxicology reports needed to provide this type of data. We know that it is far north of the numbers that are reported. Drug abuse funds gangs, transnational crimes, human trafficking, terrorism and more. It’s the single greatest national security threat facing our country.

At the same time, resources have been diminishing. We know from the Office of Community Policing that there are probably 40,000 fewer police officers today than there were 15 years ago. Meanwhile, the National Institute of Justice reports that 98 percent of all prosecutions are done by state and local law enforcement.

For us to successfully fight what I see as the worst tragedy I’ve seen in the 47 years that I’ve been around this issue, is real cooperation and real collaboration among law enforcement agencies. That starts with understanding the data. We’re seeing huge amounts of data to comb through, make sense of, and then find a way to effectively share this information across all of the various federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement across the globe.

Communities cannot afford to sustain this onslaught of death and violent crime. We need to invest in safer communities, in protecting our children; in protecting the economic stability of our cities and counties.

The only way we do that is to increase efficiency by bringing Cellebrite Pathfinder in to empower our officers, investigators, and examiners to work more collaboratively and efficiently in taking these predators off our streets. We’re talking about predators who are selling poison on our streets.

The complex web of connections and sophisticated organizations who profit from trafficking drugs requires tools that are equally sophisticated. Analytics tools expedite the process for examiners and investigators to access and develop formative leads. They can quickly leverage digital data to find otherwise hidden connections, locations, images and messages.

Funding discussions are often challenged by the many needs that law enforcement organizations must consider to keep their communities safe. But in this world where data is critical to nearly every investigation, it is an investment that agencies need to make to fight this epidemic. Learn more about this in our webinar, “Fighting the Narcotics Epidemic with Cellebrite Pathfinder.”

About the author:
Ron Brooks is a 38-year law enforcement veteran and a national leader on public safety policy issues. He is the founder and partner of Brooks Bawden Moore LLC, a government affairs and consulting agency for law enforcement organizations based in Washington, DC.

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