Customer Case Study

Intelligence Analysis At A Top-10 Municipal Police Department


The Customer

This agency is one of the 10 largest municipal police departments in North America, with over 5000 sworn officers and more than 1.5M calls for service each year.

The intelligence unit, which has roughly 20 intel analysts, gathers intelligence, assesses strategic and operational threats, and provides analytical, technical and specialized physical support for complex investigations into serious and organized crime. The intelligence unit also maintain a variety of sensitive datasets and disseminates intelligence internally and to partner agencies.

The intelligence unit had previously been using IBM® i2® Analyst’s Notebook® as an analyst tool, and in the past had unsuccessfully deployed IBM Identity Insight for entity resolution.


The Problem

The intel unit felt an urgent need to more quickly investigate crimes and develop a better understanding of organized crime groups. They recognized that key to this was having an integrated view of all their data across their various data sources (e.g., RMS, CDRs, intelligence reports, etc.).

Compounding the challenge was that intelligence reports are in semi-structured PDF® format, and could not be effectively integrated with operational data. A key conclusion was that an Enterprise-level solution was required in order to meet their needs.


Their Evaluation

The agency identified the following as their key requirements for a next-generation solution:

  • Enterprise-class solution
  • Flexibility to support various types of data and investigations
  • Scalable to effectively support large amounts of data
  • Ability to easily connect multiple data sources and provide a single integrated view of all data
  • Facilitate secure collaboration
  • Ability to effectively ingest and analyze Call Data Records (CDRs), which are provided by different carriers in different formats
  • Automatically incorporate data from intelligence reports (PDF format)

Three Enterprise-class solutions were considered: Palantir® Gotham®, IBM i2 Enterprise Insight Analysis, and DataWalk®. Palantir Gotham was quickly removed from consideration based on price, and based on feedback from a partner agency. IBM i2 EIA was viewed as a complicated stack of dozens of IBM products.

DataWalk effectively met all key requirements, and as something of a bonus, could also provide the entity resolution capabilities for which IBM Identity Insight had previously been purchased.


Their Deployment

The agency selected DataWalk, and the implementation effectively required three months of work. RMS data, CDRs, the gang database, and intel reports were quickly connected in their DataWalk repository.

The DataWalk PDF parser enables intel reports to be ingested, parsed, and connected with other data. CDRs, which come in different formats from different telecom providers, are automatically normalized and cleansed by DataWalk.


With data being fused from multiple sources, an entity resolution capability is important, and DataWalk has met the need. The intel unit now has an integrated, Enterprise view of their data, in an environment that facilitates secure collaboration. The analysts using DataWalk heavily utilize the DataWalk Universe Viewer to perform ad-hoc, no-code complex queries. These analysts also utilize DataWalk’s Excel Ingestor (which simplifies import of Excel files) as well as the DataWalk link chart facility to identify and visualize hidden relationships.

Immediately the agency was able to see connections it could not see before, at a scale and speed conducive to supporting complex and active investigations in real time. They have achieved faster time-to-decision in investigations, with more definitive results, and can now better understand the nature and extent of organized crime and other threats.

The intel unit is fully self-sufficient with DataWalk, which is critically important considering that the sensitivity of their information prevents allowing vendors to see their data. The ease-of-use of DataWalk enables the customer to perform key functions themselves, such as adding new data sources, configuring imports, modifying the data model, re-configuring system features, and so forth.

Looking forward, the agency’s near-term plans are to integrate Cellebrite® phone dumps into the environment. Various other opportunities to more effectively utilize other data sources are being considered.

Initially DataWalk was deployed in a configuration with two terabytes (2 TB) of database capacity, and this can be easily extended as required. The flexibility of DataWalk enables the agency to be able to easily adapt to changing requirements, new workflows, and new data sources.

IBM, i2, and Analyst’s Notebook are trademarks of IBM Corporation. Adobe, PDF, and the PDF logo are trademarks of Adobe. Palantir and Gotham are registered trademarks of Palantir Technologies. DataWalk is a registered trademark of DataWalk S.A. Excel and the Excel logo are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. Cellebrite is a trademark of CELLEBRITE DI LTD.
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