Part of what makes a profession a profession—and not just a job—is that a professional is, or should always be, trying to grow in their job knowledge and skills. For me, part of this growth process involves lots and lots of reading. The web has exploded the availability of professional reading for crime analysts.
A while back I posted on using Google Alerts to search the web for news stories that interest you. Tools like Google Alerts, RSS feeds and email lists can generate tons of articles that you need to read. For me, I find that my workflow is best if I segregate activities like professional reading to certain times of the workday. But it seems like new stuff to read comes at me all throughout the workday. How best to generate a reading list for later in an easy, non-intrusive manner?
Originally posted at The Crime Analyst’s Blog:
There were a couple of recent stories in the national press regarding sexual assaults. This one from CNN reports an uptick in sexual assaults reported in the military.
Some 3,230 reports of sexual assaults across all of the services were made during fiscal year 2009, which ended on September 30, 2009. That was up from the fiscal year 2008 number of 2,923 sexual assaults reported.
“Research in the civilian community shows that sexual assault is widely underreported, and we believe that is the same in the military,” said Kaye Whitley, director of the Defense Department’s sexual abuse prevention and response office.
“As a result, increasing reporting has been one of our key goals for the department,” she said.
Grok: To understand. Connotes intimate and exhaustive knowledge. When you claim to ‘grok’ some knowledge or technique, you are asserting that you have not merely learned it in a detached instrumental way but that it has become part of you, part of your identity.
—The Jargon File, version 4.1.0, retrieved 3/14/2010
I was having a phone conversation the other day with a crime analyst from another agency. During our conversation, we were discussing the topic of hiring crime analysts and qualifications for analysts. During this conversation I told him that I have become convinced that what makes a crime analyst most valuable to their agency is their knowledge of their agency’s system. To put it another way, a crime analyst must “grok their system.”
When I was in the Navy, the helmsmen—the person who actually steered the ship—had to learn an important lesson. The ship’s rudder controlled the direction the ship was traveling. The rudder was controlled by either a wheel or by a lever from the bridge of the ship. Near the helmsman’s station was a compass repeater that indicated the direction the ship was traveling. Usually, the helmsman would receive an order to steer the ship a certain direction on the compass.
Around the beginning of the New Year, many law enforcement agencies take stock of the things that occurred in the previous year. Oft times in January, police chiefs around the country will ask their crime analysts for a preliminary work up of the crime statistics so they can get an advance look at the numbers. Then around mid-year, the FBI will begin to issue preliminary crime statistics and eventually the Uniform Crime Report will be released. The issuance of the Uniform Crime Report will start a flurry of stories in the news about crime statistics, and an equally frantic run on antacids by the heads of law enforcement agencies.