Tennessee officials applied to matrix
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Thursday, 01/01/04 | Middle Tennessee News & Information
State seeks link with crime data network
By CHRISTIAN BOTTORFF
Tennessee officials have applied to become part of an information-sharing network intended to rapidly track terrorists and suspicious individuals across state lines.
If the link is approved, state officials say they would be able to more rapidly communicate with other agencies through the Multistate Anti-Terrorism Information Exchange, known as MATRIX in law enforcement circles.
The program is already in use in Alabama, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Utah. It gives participating states access to information from government and commercial databases about suspicious activities.
The TBI recently applied to become part of the network through the Regional Organized Crime Information Center, said Brooks Wilkins, special agent in charge of the criminal intelligence unit of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation
Metro police spokesman Don Aaron said the TBI could give a license to Metro police, if the program is approved.
While there is interest in being part of the information-sharing network, Nashville police have not decided whether they will participate.
''If the MATRIX is offered, this police department will look at it very closely,'' Aaron said. ''If we believe it will enhance our efforts, we will certainly try to become a part of it.''
Metro police already contribute information through the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force. Tips that arrive in the hands of police here are turned over to the federal agencies, Aaron said.
''There is a great deal of information sharing and collaborative work between this department and the federal government already,'' he said.