Tech Advances That Brought Significant Change to Law Enforcement

Technological developments have drastically impacted every area of human life (and, let’s be honest, animal, and plant life as well). One of the areas that we don’t often think of technology having an influence on is law enforcement. The following will explore some of the advances in technology that directly influenced how law enforcement is handled globally.

Body Cameras And Police Car Cameras

The video camera has brought us many wonderful changes—we now have security footage keeping us safer. We get to watch masterpieces of cinema and television. We can communicate with those far away from us as if we were sitting face to face. When it comes to law enforcement, cameras have been used for a fair few years to increase officer accountability as well as officer safety.

Body cameras and police car cameras cut down the number of violent incidents, not only perpetrated by police officers and criminals as both officers on duty and those interacting with them know that they are being recorded and don’t want to be caught doing something they shouldn’t on camera. Studies have proven that body cameras by police forces reduced the use of force and civilian complaints. Of course, this use of technology hasn’t completely eradicated violence and has caused a few controversies regarding issues of personal privacy.

Computer-Aided Dispatch (CAD) Systems

Computer-aided dispatch systems combine mobile data terminals, external programs, and records management systems to provide officers, first responders, and 911 dispatchers with as much information as possible as quickly as possible. For example, when someone calls 911, a CAD system will be compiling the crucial data dispatchers and law enforcement need, like the location of the caller and whether the call came from a cellphone or landline.

These tools are particularly helpful when someone calls 911 but isn’t able to speak or isn’t sure of their location. One such tool from 10-8 Systems can also help calculate which units are closest to the incident and who is available to respond. As you can imagine, this speeds up response time considerably.

Social Media

Nearly everyone in some capacity uses the myriad of platforms that consist of social media, and law enforcement is no exception. Social media is used by police forces and other law enforcement personnel to engage with their community, gain information about cases, and receive crime stopping tips.

In 2010, the IACP Center for Social Media surveyed law enforcement chief executives and found that 81% used social media in their work. Of course, this usage of social media has been controversial. Social media was cited as being used to investigate crimes, update the concerned public about crimes, conduct crime-preventing activities, and gain tips from the public about crimes that had occurred.

Mobile Fingerprinting

Before the development of mobile fingerprinting, law enforcement personnel were required to take someone to the station for fingerprinting and identification. That is no longer the case. Mobile fingerprinting technology allows officers to stay on-site and gain an accurate fingerprint reading within minutes. These devices are small and easy to transport and save both officers and civilians a lot of time.

Mobile Devices Like Laptops And Tablets

Yes, we all love our mobile devices. They make our lives easier in countless ways, from trying to find that one friend that always gets separated from the group at a concert to sending pictures of fifteen different lamps to our boss so they can pick what they want without us having to make a whole bunch of purchases and returns. In the same way, mobile devices have made the lives of law enforcement officers smoother and more efficient. Mobile devices allow officers to work nearly anywhere and continue case investigations without having to return to their office, station, or workplace in order to submit their notes. There are even some apps designed specifically for law enforcement workers to be able to work offline, so they don’t have to worry about finding an internet connection to submit their findings.

The above list of technological developments that have aided law enforcement is by no means exhaustive. There are countless ways technology makes the lives of law enforcement personnel easier, as well as helping to protect innocent civilians. As with all technology, management is key. These devices, platforms, and systems are tools, and we all know that tools can be used to create further good or further harm depending on how they are handled and who is operating them. With the inclusion of any technological advancements in any workplace, employees should be given the training necessary to best use these tools.