Hightower's training gives him access to SLED resources worth millions of dollars. He uses them to "dig a little deeper" and pass the information to prosecutors, so they can argue for higher bonds or for no bond at all.
And what Hightower finds out can also be used at trial to make the case for harsher sentences, Stone said.
"What I needed was an objective way to determine who is the worst of the worst and, on a real-time basis, at 7 in the morning," Stone said. "These are not the people you want out -- these are hardened criminals."
Hightower is the first SLED-trained crime analyst hired by a state solicitor's office, according to SLED spokeswoman Kathryn Richardson.
This is the first time I have heard of a crime analyst being employed directly by a prosecutor's office. Many analysts working for individual law enforcement agencies help their agency and prosecutors when working on cases that their agency has investigated. For example I regularly provide maps and other analytical products when are our cases are getting ready to go to trial.
I can see the value in having an analyst that helps prosecutors prioritize cases they have for prosecution. Just like crime analysts help cops with smarter rather than harder, a crime analyst working at a prosecutor's office can help them to be more efficient with the limited resources they have as well.
What other innovative ways have you seen crime analysts employed?