Databases still unpopular with some law enforcement agencies{1}

by Brian T

Software innovations and specialized training programs have granted many institutions the ability to set up their own databases for a variety of purposes. One such organization is NamUs – the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System. It was a database designed to share data and media across organization in an effort to help identify deceased persons. Unfortunately, this article discusses how the system is widely disregarded by the law enforcement agencies it was intended for.

Although I am not entirely familiar with the content of this course’s curriculum, I felt that this article has the good introductory concept of database usage. Chiefly, collections of data to be shared between individuals and organizations. The NamUs database was designed with a rating system based on the information available about the individual to be identified. I realize that this process is relatively simple compared to what databases are truly capable of, but it still proved to be a fairly efficient system. This philosophy can also be loosely tied to the newer start-up companies that have emerged recently. It all has to do with the managing data – whether it’s manipulating the management or the data itself.

The issue in this scenario is it’s notoriety amongst appropriate organizations. It remains a kept secret amongst agencies that should be making good use of it. It is supposed to be benefiting law enforcement to help close unsolved cases as well as to bring closure to the friends and families of victims. So it begs the question – what remedy is required? Is the lack of publicity solely to blame? Or does the process need to be simplified to attract more amateur computer users?

As I mentioned before, I know very little about databases and am hoping to learn much more throughout this quarter. So unless any of my academia associates has a good understanding as to how to properly diagnose and resolve this issue, we shall wait until the end of the quarter to formulate some decent input (and possibly some real world problem solving application!)



David, M. (n.d.). Namus missing person database goes unused by 93 percent of law enforcement. Retrieved from,2817,2361037,00.asp

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