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Intelligence analyst brings new skills to Minot Police Department

Intelligence analyst brings new skills to police department

Jill Schramm/MDN Cameon Eisenzimmer works at her station in the Minot Police Department Wednesday.

A forensic anthropologist, Cameon Eisenzimmer brings a unique set of skills to the Minot Police Department’s work in solving and preventing crime.

Eisenzimmer joined the police department in the newly created position May 24. As a forensic anthropologist, she is trained in studying human remains to reconstruct information about them and their death. While those skills are useful in death investigations, Eisenzimmer’s contributions to the department go well beyond that function.

She also uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) in looking at crimes from a geographic perspective to determine patterns of where and when types of crime are occurring in an attempt to predict and be proactive.

“Right now what we’re working on is getting databases set up to be able to analyze communication better,” she said. Data exists, but currently it’s not always efficiently shared between police divisions in beneficial ways.

“Each different division has their own way of using that data or getting that data – or not using that data because it’s not necessarily relevant to them,” Eisenzimmer said. “What I am is a funneling point for all of that information. I can look at that and start seeing if there’s trends that are occurring.

“The analyst part is taking the information that we have and being able to do future prediction models, but also see trends as they are occurring,” she added. “Right now, we’re having a lot of gas drive-offs. So as we start looking at trends, we’re starting to realize they’re kind of occurring at the same time of day. Our dispatchers aren’t going to know that. The patrol officers aren’t going to know that. They only see one piece of information. I can go back, start reading the logs and start analyzing that.”

The result might be stepping up patrols around certain businesses at certain times.

Data isn’t all generated through the police department, either, she noted. The community can participate in providing information. Enhancing that communication with the public is a step the department hopes to take down the road to help address crime.

Eisenzimmer’s services also could help the region’s smaller law enforcement agencies because of the cooperative arrangements that already exist between Minot Police Department and rural communities. Data collected from those agencies can improve the information analysis for both Minot and the smaller communities, she said.

“There’s a huge advantage to having this position,” said Capt. Jason Sundbakken, administration commander for the Minot Police Department. “First of all, one of the things that she’s been focusing on thus far is, once again, putting those puzzle pieces together.”

He described the analyst function as similar to a machine that separates a collection’s components.

“There’s a lot of information that gets dumped in, and she basically can filter and decipher what that means and group it,” he said. The result is information shared more expeditiously, efficiently and in a more understandable way, he said.

“She’s already been networking with other intel analysts in the state so that statewide, we can create more of an information-sharing network,” Sundbakken said. “It allows us to get a bigger, broader picture of the things that are going on and be able to focus in and maybe even be more predictive when it comes to crime.”

The Fargo Police Department has had an intelligence analyst longer than other North Dakota cities, but Bismarck, Grand Forks and Williston departments also have analysts. There are analysts with some task forces and at the state level for a total of 10 to 12 in North Dakota, Eisenzimmer said.

A Minot native, Eisenzimmer received her undergraduate degree at the University of Minnesota-Moorhead and her master’s in forensic anthropology from Wichita State University in Kansas. In addition, she has received advanced training in specific areas within her field. She holds a master’s degree in historic preservation and an associate’s degree in architecture and drafting. She is one of seven nationally registered professional archaeologists in North Dakota.

Her previous work in Wichita included analyzing some high-profile crime. She also worked with the FBI in its counterterrorism unit in Quantico, Va. She returned to North Dakota and worked as a civilian at Minot Air Force Base in its GeoBase office, looking at defensive measures around its missile silos. During that time, she volunteered as a reserve deputy for the Ward County Sheriff’s Department for five years. She took a break from law enforcement when she worked for Ackerman-Estvold, a Minot engineering firm.

“But law enforcement is kind of always where my heart’s been and where I wanted to go,” she said.

The background she brings to the Minot Police Department is particularly valuable because of her experiences with different resources. Having worked in larger cities with more resources, she can provide guidance to the Minot force on techniques those cities might use.

The Minot Police Department has a crime scene team that Eisenzimmer will be assisting to bring additional expertise and perspective.

Sundbakken said the department will be using Eisenzimmer’s skills in more and better ways as time goes on and as the department gets more familiar with the new position.

“But we’re building on those experiences and trying to come up with what’s best for the Minot Police Department,” he said. “We’ve got some plans on things we want to do. It’s just that we’re trying to pump the brakes a little bit and make sure we do it right.”

“There’s so much potential and I have so many ideas,” Eisenzimmer added. “You want to do it correctly. You want to get off on the right foot and you want to get everybody on board, but I think the potential is there to do amazing things.”

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