Law enforcement gets the privilege to use various kinds of technology before anyone else. Perhaps you are curious about how exactly technology is being used by police departments, or maybe you are wondering, “how does technology help law enforcement find what they are searching for?”
The digital age has brought about a plethora of technological advances that are accessible to most individuals. However, people in the law enforcement field get the advantage of using the latest technology for the purpose of finding suspects and examining evidence from a crime scene.
Do you want to know the pros and cons of technology in the law enforcement field? Read on to uncover the uses of technology, how it helps law enforcement, and the future of technology in the law enforcement field.
- What Kind of Technology Does Law Enforcement Use?
- How Technology Helps Law Enforcement
- Pros of Technology for Law Enforcement
- Cons of Technology for Law Enforcement
- The Future of Technology in Law Enforcement
- Continued Growth and Adoption
- Conclusion – How Does Technology Help Law Enforcement?
- Related Articles
What Kind of Technology Does Law Enforcement Use?
One of the first pieces of technologies used by the police was the police radio in 1933. Years after that, law enforcement began using radar detectors to capture the speed of vehicles. In-car laptops were later introduced and soon followed by body cameras. According to Ballotpedia, body cameras have been widely used since 2014 by law enforcement since the shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer.
Among the latest technological devices being used to promote public safety today are drones, GPS, gunshot technology, surveillance cameras, and license plate scanning. Improvements in modern day technology have also brought about big data into the playing field. Cloud computing, biometrics, data collection, crime analysis reports, and document management software are some of the programs represented by big data that provide the police with the critical information they need as soon as possible.
How Technology Helps Law Enforcement
There are several ways specific technological devices can help law enforcement to obtain what they need. The most important ones are listed below.
In Car Computers
In-car computers offer the ability to instantly upload information and reports to online police systems. They give law enforcement the opportunity to work remotely, improve data collection accuracy and store reports without the stress of losing or damaging them.
Drones are able to provide the police an aerial view of a place. Which in turn can lead the police to the location of the crime or aid in finding the criminal, as reported by Purdue University Global.
Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allow law enforcement to track and monitor people and get to the crime scene in time. GPS also helps law enforcement to manage the location of police departments which helps to ensure that there is enough coverage in a certain area.
Gunshot technology can detect gunfire and helps to monitor gunshots in specific locations. This technology uses mapping and electronic sensors to allow officers to respond immediately.
License Plate Scanning
License plate scanning allows the police to see if a car in an area has been stolen.
Surveillance cameras record and capture events and can identify the criminals captured on camera. These devices can help prevent crimes from happening and provide the evidence needed to solve criminal cases.
Cloud Computing is used to store and manage data such as video footage, police reports, photographs, and fingerprints. Data collection and crime analysis are accessed through cloud computing and can connect departments to centralize criminal justice databases as well as help law enforcement to gain the insight to make the right decisions.
Document and Records Management
Document and records management is a time saving application that houses policies and procedures which can be accessed at any time and anywhere.
Biometrics used in the past were mainly fingerprints for identification. Today, handheld scanners and facial recognition technology is being used in order to provide accuracy and speed up the identification process.
Facial Recognition Software
Facial recognition software contains a database of known criminals and can be used to compare photos, videos or sketches to find the suspect.
Social media is used by police departments to alert people about storm warnings, traffic safety, and other emergencies. Often, law enforcement utilizes social media for investigations. With the use of social media, police officers are even able to communicate with the public to help track down suspects.
Pros of Technology for Law Enforcement
There are numerous pros to utilizing technology in the law enforcement field. One advantage is communication via social media platforms. According to the University of San Diego, social media has helped police officers to track down witnesses and obtain the evidence needed to solve a case. Another major advantage of technology is facial recognition software which helps the police to identify people that fail to produce an ID at a traffic stop or violation.
Additionally, another pro is the use of body cameras which can help law enforcement by providing crucial evidence of an interaction. Overall, the use of technology by law enforcement results in a safer and more effective way of protecting citizens. It enables police departments to do their jobs more efficiently and solve investigations in real-time.
Cons of Technology for Law Enforcement
Major cons of technological advancements in law enforcement are privacy concerns. If technology is used in an unethical manner by the government it can cause a negative impact on social stability and civil rights. Some police officers feel that body cameras are an invasion of privacy. Another significant cause for concern regarding technology is that it can cause distraction for officers in the middle of their jobs. In Public Safety states, devices such as in-car computers, dispatch systems, and cell phones can divide an officer’s attention and potentially put them in a dangerous situation.
Although technology can be advantageous for law enforcement, it can also cause inconvenience for some officers. The pressure and time it takes to learn how to utilize and apply this array of technology often makes law enforcement agents feel apprehensive.
The disadvantages of technology in the law enforcement field can be resolved. Strict laws can be put in place to ensure the protection of civil liberties and prohibit the use of technology in an unethical manner by law enforcement agents.
Additionally, Instead of making officers use body cameras during all working hours, they can be used only when police officers are out on the field or interacting with suspects. Also, proper training should be made mandatory for all officers so they could avoid getting easily distracted or getting discouraged to use the technology that is needed to investigate a case. Amidst all of these technologies being promoted in the field, proper training is the most important aspect to invest in to provide public safety.
The Future of Technology in Law Enforcement
With technology getting advanced and more complex every year, the future of technology in law enforcement is one to look forward to. Augmented reality technologies are projected to play a productive role in public safety. As reported by Apex Officer, with the use of augmented reality, law enforcement will be able to have access to and examine three-dimensional maps which will help them to respond to issues and crime scenes effectively.
Furthermore, drones will be able to reach areas the police cannot and provide real-time information regarding dangerous activity in specific areas while protecting the officers at the same time. Police robots have been a topic of conversation lately. Since the police can’t be everywhere, Built In states that police robots are being deployed and designed to make interaction with citizens, criminals, and situations less dangerous. Robotic technology is improving and being used to detect bombs or search suspicious homes and vehicles.
Continued Growth and Adoption
Advances in technology are able to help law enforcement by presenting accurate information in a timely manner. Technology also helps law enforcement by providing them the ability to stay well-informed, vigilant and one-step ahead of criminals. Without these devices it would almost be impossible to monitor criminal activity and find evidence required to work a case expeditiously.
Law enforcement’s interaction with and utilization of technology will continue to grow and improve as we make more advancements in it. It is no doubt that the abundance of technological devices law enforcement has access to greatly helps to provide public safety and get evidence officers need to solve a case.
Respectively, technology helps law enforcement agents to track and monitor suspects through GPS systems, collect and store data with the use of cloud computing and identify and apprehend criminals through the use of facial recognition software, drones and social media. There are more pros than cons of using technology in the police force.
Conclusion – How Does Technology Help Law Enforcement?
It has now become easier for law enforcement agents to find criminals, obtain evidence and store important data efficiently. Technology in the law enforcement field is not only time-saving for police officers, but is also life savings for the citizens and officers. It is pertinent for law enforcement to use technology to the best of their abilities and in the best interest of the public.