Gov. John Carney joined state correctional leaders to open the Department of Correction Intelligence Operations Center Sept. 9.
This statewide facility, operated by the Special Operations Group within the Bureau of Prisons, positions the DOC with new resources to identify security threats from across facilities, assess them and proactively move to mitigate them.
"We made a commitment after the 2017 uprising and murder of Lt. Steven Floyd that we were going to do the hard work to make our correctional system safer," said Carney. "This Intelligence Operations Center demonstrates how far the DOC has come by investing in technology and people, embracing a new organizational approach, and placing top-notch management across its facilities to better meet its important mission. Thanks to a lot of hard work and this new cutting-edge facility, we have a much greater ability to know what's going on behind the walls, and that's keeping our correctional officers and inmates in our custody safer than they have ever been."
The DOC Intelligence Operations Center addresses a critical need for better communication and information-sharing within and across Delaware's correctional facilities that was highlighted by the Independent Review of Security Issues at the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center. The review was commissioned by Carney in 2017 following the inmate uprising at James T. Vaughn Correctional Center.
Commissioner Claire DeMatteis recognized Carney and the Independent Review Team for setting four clear objectives that continue to guide the Department of Correction today.
"Consistently over the past three-and-a-half years, the Department of Correction has been focused on strengthening safety and security, improving recruitment and retention of officers, improving programming and services for inmates, and modernizing our intelligence operations through better intelligence gathering and sharing," said DeMatteis. "This statewide Intelligence Operations Center and its experienced team of officers and analysts enable us to take another leap forward in leveraging human intelligence together with the latest technology to prevent another inmate-led riot that could harm, or worse, an officer, counselor, or inmate."
DOC's Intelligence Operations Center has access to thousands of surveillance cameras, human intelligence, and tips from employees and other sources to gather information and synthesize it into concrete recommendations for action. Its team of 12 employees, including intelligence analysts and field investigators, partners with security staff at the facility level to focus on gang-related affiliations and activity among inmates, contraband detection, organized criminal enterprises, isolated threats by individuals, and more. Information is processed into actionable intelligence and recommendations that are shared with senior DOC leaders, and facility wardens and staff to defuse emerging inmate conflict and prevent violence. IOC analysis is also used to proactively inform decisions about inmate movements, help identify programming needs, and contribute to internal disciplinary investigations. IOC team members also collaborate with local, state, and federal law enforcement partners to support public security and safety through internal and external investigations.
The DOC Intelligence Operations Center, a stand-alone facility in the Dover area, is located in a state-owned building that was transferred to the Department of Correction late last year. It opened officially Sept. 9 after being equipped over the past several months for its new mission.