Technology and policing have gone hand-in-hand for the better part of a century, from phones and radios to dash cams. However, investing in emerging technologies isn’t as easy as it sounds as procurement and adoption can be lengthy and challenging.
For anyone on the fence (be it in an agency or with city stakeholders) about using more technology than is currently being used, here are some benefits of implementing new technologies in policing.
Improve operational efficiencies and outcomes. This benefit applies to both administrative and on-the-job operations. Budgets are tight, and so is bandwidth. Police technology helps officers do more with less, and usually in less time. And, as the saying goes, “time is money” so there is an added benefit of cost-savings.
Improve transparency and accountability. Transparency and accountability are a huge part of the conversation in the current policing landscape. New technologies typically come with any number of tracking, reporting and documentation functions so there are no surprises to the community. At one time, the thought of using body cams was rejected, but now, it has widespread use and benefits to the LEO and agency.
Improve officer and/or community safety. Safety is one of the most important benefits technology can provide - and this goes for the community and the officers. Things like off-duty, extra-duty or secondary employment technology can prevent officer fatigue, and technology like drones can help police better assess a potentially dangerous situation in the surrounding community.
Easier reviews and audits. Documentation that often accompanies new technologies gives agencies valuable insights. It also makes pulling up any records a lot easier in the event of an audit.
Bringing in new technology may elicit groans from officers for a multitude of reasons. However, avoiding the implementation of new technologies could leave your agency and officers in the dust when it comes to efficiency, transparency, safety and auditability. Eventually, many technologies become industry standards. Why wait to follow industry standards when you can help pave the way and set them?