Crime analyst featured in textbook

By Gina Gallucci-White
The Frederick News-Post

FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — While most people are familiar with patrol officers and police detectives, Mark Bridge’s job is lesser known. “Most people who I tell that I am a crime analyst think it’s CSI,” he said.

But college students across the country will soon get an idea of what the 29-year-old’s job at the Frederick Police Department entails.

Bridge is one of several professionals to be featured in the sixth edition of “Criminal Justice in America.”

One of the book’s authors, Christopher E. Smith, was one of Bridge’s professors when he obtained a master’s degree in criminal justice from Michigan State University.

“Mark embodies the wave of the future through an innovative position that shows the contributions of analytic techniques and helps to demonstrate the growing importance of career options other than traditional police work as a way to make important contributions to society and have a satisfying career helping society address social issues,” Smith said in an e-mail.

Bridge said he was honored to be chosen and is featured on page 44. In the feature, he tells students “the biggest challenge of being a crime analyst is turning raw data into timely and useful information. There are a lot of sources to obtain information from, and you, as the analyst, must decide what to use and how to use it.”

He relies on information gathered by officers at crime scenes and pours over their reports.

“Without them, I don’t exist,” he said. “They do a good job.”

Part of his job includes predicting where crimes may occur and looking over past criminal activity to see if a person under arrest may be involved.

In late October and early November, the department investigated a string of burglaries in the Amber Meadows subdivision.

By using data collected from the burglaries, Bridge provided a timeframe of when the man might strike again. In his seventh burglary, Direct Patrol Unit officers caught a man stealing a laptop computer from a home and charged him with the string of burglaries.

Bridge also assisted the DPU when several businesses were burglarized in the Toll House Avenue area. The unit arrested a man after he broke a window to get inside a nail salon on West Ninth Street. Investigators later tied him to several burglaries in the area.

Bridge has offices at the department and the Frederick County Law Enforcement Center. The department shares information with other law agencies in the county and Bridge helps to look for crime trends in the county.

“Crime doesn’t stop at the (city) border,” he said.

The Ohio native graduated from the University of Akron in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in political science and criminal justice.

While obtaining his master’s degree, Bridge interned for the Michigan Supreme Court as a research analyst for 21Ú2 years. He worked on a statewide evaluation of the state’s drunken driving and drug court.

He graduated from MSU in 2008 and moved to Frederick after getting the crime analyst position later that year. He treasures his job as a crime analyst because it takes him back to his research roots.

“I enjoy being able to put research together for people so they can use it,” he said.