A sheriff's office in southern Ohio was able to secure a guilty plea from a man involved in a murder case thanks to help from a Tiffin University professor.
Allen Smith, associate professor of national security studies at TU, assisted Pike County Sheriff's Office with putting together a timeline for a case that involved an attempted purchase of drugs that ultimately resulted in a death.
Smith said it was a great opportunity for him to help a friend.
He said he has a lot of respect for Pike County Sheriff Richard Henderson, who is in his first term. Smith said he is doing a great job. The chart helped illustrate what sheriff's officials had been able to accomplish, he said.
"They had the information," he said. "They did an excellent job with the investigation."
Smith has been at TU since 2004 and teaches courses in criminal justice, criminal investigations, homeland security and intelligence analysis.
He said he had lived in Pike County for a long time and kept in contact with the area when he moved to central Ohio and started working at TU. He said he knew Henderson before he was elected sheriff, well.
"He worked for me as a part-time deputy marshal," he said.
Smith heard about the murder case while talking to Henderson.
"One of the things I teach at the university is link analysis, and so I explained to him I would be happy to work with him in doing a link analysis of that particular case," he said.
Smith said detectives were able to inform him of the events that had occurred and, using analysis software, he was able to map the links in a chart. He said he was able to show what time events occurred in the sequence they occurred and
show who was involved.
It took awhile to put it all together, he said.
"(Drug Enforcement Administration was) willing to help us as much as possible," he said.
Smith said the printed chart went to the prosecuting attorney, who eventually sat down with the defendant's defense team.
The defense team pleaded guilty on behalf of the defendant after the chart was reviewed, he said.
Smith said it was obvious when the defense team saw the information, it was going to have a huge struggle trying to get its client found not guilty.
"All the chart can do is represent the facts," he said.
Smith said he attended a national gang conference in California a few years ago and became aware of i2, a company that has state-of-the-art intelligence analysis software.
TU, which has many students who are interested in analysis issues in law enforcement, decided it wanted to incorporate the software into its courses.
TU is one of 50 universities in the United States that has a contract that provides $800,000 in software and services, he said.
The company's website states i2 runs the largest law enforcement information sharing initiative in the world.
Smith said he was pleased he was able to be of assistance and was glad TU had the software that allowed him to be of help.
"The small rural departments rarely have access to that type of assistance," he said.
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