Law enforcement officials in Colorado's Grand Junction and Mesa County police departments plan to invest in a state-of-the-art, cross-reference database that will enable information sharing, more efficient communications, and expedite case investigations.

COPLINK provides analytical searching capabilities, shares available information, and would link the city and county database systems, as reported in The Daily Sentinel. The databases for the city and county currently operate on two separate systems and as such don't "talk" to each other.

But with COPLINK, an officer can provide little or partial information, such as an incomplete license plate number or identifying tattoo, which the database would cross-reference and process. The system's cross-referencing capabilities would enable the officer to access information other law enforcement agencies may have compiled about the suspect if the suspect had had a previous run-in with the law in another county or jurisdiction.

"Combining the information into one system, which also is connected to agencies on the Front Range, could save law enforcement hundreds of hours in investigative time," says Deputy Chief Troy Smith of the Grand Junction Police Department. "Any number of cases could be solved much quicker than right now."

Mesa County Sheriff Stan Hilkey concurs and says that the COPLINK system is designed to help law enforcement make connections in cases and identify and track suspects more efficiently and more expeditiously.

"This [COPLINK] is something that we absolutely want to do," says Hilkey. "I believe in any kind of system that allows us to access and share data. That takes the whole conversation to the next level."

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