One-stop data shop

Cody Systems has released the fifth generation of its COBRA regional data-sharing system for public safety agencies.

COBRA is an acronym for center-point based regional access, which allows agencies in different jurisdictions to share data. What makes COBRA unique, according to David N. Heffner, director of marketing at Cody, is the use of insulated data silos.

In contrast to traditional data warehouses that commingle all data, COBRA stores each agency's data in a separate silo. These silos protect data by allowing agencies to create their own sharing profiles that control access.

The silos reside on COBRA's Center-Point Server, which enables disparate systems in different jurisdictions to communicate with each other.

'Agencies don't want their data mixed up with other agencies' data,' said Heffner. Using COBRA, 'agencies know who's coming into their silo, when and why. They have control over what others see and never lose control of their data.'

Another advantage for agencies that use the COBRA system is that they can retain existing local record systems thanks to COBRA's proprietary software that allows different systems to communicate. 'The last thing an agency wants to do is change its infrastructure,' Heffner said. 'They've invested money and entered a lot of data.'

Whenever data is updated locally, the change is immediately and automatically synchronized with the data in the silo. And data delivery takes place in seconds; for example, a police officer on the street can quickly find information about someone detained during a traffic stop'even if the newest information about the suspect took place 10 minutes before.

Heffner mentioned an incident in which a police officer didn't find any information about a suspect in his local database, but when he searched the COBRA system he found a long rap sheet that caused him to take a closer look at the suspect. The officer found multiple guns in the man's car and apprehended him on the spot, something that would not have happened without COBRA's connectivity.

COBRA is mostly used at the county, regional and state levels, but the technology is scalable to a nationwide system.

The system allows data sharing over multiple connection options, including wired local-area networks, Wi-Fi, personal area networks, wide-area networks, 3G mobile broadband, cellular modem and the Internet.

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