September 13 2022
Technology and policing have gone hand-in-hand for the better part of a century and there is no question that technology enhances policing at every level (think dash cams and DNA evidence). Technologies have historically stood to change the face of policing for the better.
Benefits of new technologies in policing include improving operational efficiencies and outcomes (both administrative and on-the-job), transparency and accountability, improving officer and community safety, and, easier reviews and audits. However, getting the latest and greatest technology on board isn’t always easy - and there can be several stakeholders involved (like city governments, legal departments, and IT departments not to mention decision makers in the agency itself).
Additional challenges can present a roadblock and make the process of bringing on a new technology lengthy and arduous - like budgetary restraints and agency adoption - but looking at common challenges ahead of time can help.
Another consideration in police technology is security and data governance. New technologies typically carry with them robust records of police activities (from reporting of any kind to body cam video). Not only does this data need to be stored, but it also needs to be protected. It’s important to make sure any vendor adheres to your agency’s security requirements.
In addition to budgetary constraints, agency adoption is a common challenge. In agency life, a common moniker is that nobody wants anything to change… or to stay the same!
However, there are certain times that make it easier to bring in new technology - like when the agency is undergoing changes in leadership or after an inquiry or audit into a specific practice. Additionally, there are a lot of tools and resources available to ease the transition and reduce friction as an agency goes through changes and upgrades in technology.
And what, exactly, does technology have to do with the extra jobs police officers work extra jobs? A lot, actually. Off-duty isn’t typically top-of-mind when it comes to police work, which often translates into grossly outdated procedures and processes when it comes to administering these efforts. Scheduling, administration and transparency are just a few of the reasons agencies are turning to off-duty police software.
Any technology adopted by law enforcement should create meaningful and positive improvements in policing for the agency, its officers and the community. As technology continues to evolve, so does, in theory, law enforcement’s strategy and the tools they use to keep our communities safe and their procedures running smoothly.