Analyzing intel worldwide
As the first Canadian to take the helm at the International Association of Law Enforcement Intelligence Analysts (IALEIA) four years ago, civilian member Jennifer Johnstone is helping shape the field of intelligence analysis around the globe.
Joining the force in 2001, the RCMP was a natural choice for this intelligence expert, having grown up with her father, a few siblings and other family members working in law enforcement and public safety. "I was working with the CBSA [since 1993] as a customs inspector and intelligence analyst and was assigned to a tobacco joint forces operation out of the RCMP [B.C.] HQ building," explains Johnstone of her transition to the force. "The idea of working on a variety of files at all levels of policing was appealing, so when the RCMP approached me, I accepted."
Whether as a criminal analyst, strategic analyst, or intelligence analyst, Johnstone has spent over 20 years honing her analytical skills. She's currently an intelligence analyst with RCMP's Federal Serious and Organized Crime Branch in British Columbia, and recently began her second (voluntary) term as president of IALEIA. An organization dedicated to advancing high standards of professionalism in law enforcement intelligence analysis, IALEIA is the largest organization in the world representing law enforcement analysts.
"One award of which I am very proud is from the Colombian National Police and the Latin American and Caribbean Community of Police Intelligence," comments Johnstone. "They recognized my efforts in promoting the profession of intelligence analysis in Central and South America." She adds that IALIEA is making great inroads there, where an organization like IALIEA is much needed to assist with professionalism and establishing standards.
As president of IALEIA she is considered a subject matter expert by the Criminal Intelligence Coordinating Council (made up of U.S. intelligence leaders from federal, state, and municipal departments, including the FBI, DEA, ATF and DHS), and is the only non-U.S. member and the only female who sits on the Council. With a goal of increasing intelligence sharing and developing international best practices, the CICC is dedicated to intelligence-led policing.
While Johnstone continues to connect the global intelligence environment, she still recalls how she used to create link charts by hand on flip-chart paper. "The advances in charting and mapping software, as well as programs to assist with the sorting and collation of meta data, is amazing," she says. There's also been an increase in formal education programs for analysts, with many bachelor and master degree programs now offered at different institutions.
Never missing an opportunity to further her own education, Johnstone is currently on educational leave from the RCMP to complete her Master in Science (MSc) in Intelligence Studies. While on leave, she was also hired as an international expert in criminal analysis for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). As a certified instructor and having helped develop IALIEA's Foundations for Intelligence Analysis course, Johnstone has taught it in several U.S. cities and in Bulgaria, and she just recently returned from teaching analysts in the Ukraine through OSCE.
Johnstone is looking forward to returning to the RCMP next year once she completes her MSc, noting that she's been very fortunate to have worked with "some amazing people and for some incredible leaders."
"I realize that as I travel around the world, the RCMP is a good place to work," Johnston says. "I look forward to a future of more women in leadership roles within the RCMP."
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