Fighting Crime Through Intelligence Analysis
The heroin and opioid epidemic contributed to more than 5,400 Pennsylvania overdose deaths in 2017. Ann Marie Higgins ’11, an LVC psychology graduate, plays a key role in combatting the crisis as part of her intelligence analyst supervisor job with the Pennsylvania State Police.
Higgins shares reports from her Drug Analysis Unit during meetings of the new Opioid Command Center, comprised of more than a dozen state agencies, and the Overdose Information Network (ODIN). The network tracks overdoses, naloxone (a drug that reverses opioid overdoses) administration, and investigative drug information in a central system. Higgins brings data back to her unit after these meetings and provides ODIN training to law enforcement.
She combines these assignments with her duties with the State Police’s Criminal Intelligence Center, where she supervises analysts who monitor drug trends and provide drug-related case support to law enforcement. They collect and analyze information from multiple sources and provide stakeholders with actionable intelligence and investigative support to enhance public safety and protect the infrastructure of Pennsylvania from terrorism and other crime.
“I love working with law enforcement,” Higgins said. “My father is a retired captain with the Pennsylvania State Police and I have always had an interest in the criminal justice field. Every day is different, which is exciting. Supporting law enforcement and providing them with the necessary tools to do their job to the best of their ability is extremely rewarding. I can see our positive impact on a daily basis!”
Higgins depends on many skills gained through her psychology degree at LVC, including writing, critical thinking, reasoning, communication, research, and analysis.
“It is imperative that I am able to communicate well with my employees,” she said. “I am researching and writing on a daily basis. All of these skills were improved and developed even further while studying at LVC.”
Higgins said Dr. Lou Manza, chair and professor of psychology, and Dr. Lou Laguna, who recently retired as a psychology professor, were always her “go-to-professors.” Their classes in research and forensic psychology spurred her interest in criminal justice.
Along with her career, LVC left another lasting impact for Higgins: It’s where she met her husband, Corey Higgins ’11, D’14. He graduated with his doctor of physical therapy degree and has now opened two successful physical therapy outpatient clinics with Drayer Physical Therapy.
“The four years I spent at LVC were 100-percent some of the best years of my life so far, not only did I receive an amazing education, but the friends and relationships I have are still a huge part of my life.”