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February 8 2022

When is the best time for LEAs to implement a new technology?

Getting a new technology onboard at a law enforcement agency can present a specific set of challenges.

LEAs owe it to the public to properly evaluate any emerging technology or police app with a measured approach to ensure the result will be beneficial and cost-effective. Agency-wide resistance to change can also slow the process down. There are, however, a few key times when implementing a new technology becomes a little easier for everyone, and this especially applies to off-duty technology.

When demand exceeds bandwidth

As the demand for off-duty continues to grow, the ability to manage off-duty requests using outdated processes becomes overwhelming and inefficient. Enlisting a new technology can streamline the process so off-duty becomes easily manageable for those that both coordinate and work off-duty. 

During a change in leadership

When new leadership, like a new police chief, comes on board from an outside agency, they often bring with them a series of changes to the LEA. This is a great opportunity to build on that momentum to update an existing technology. A new chief that is promoted from within the department also brings fresh ideas and is motivated to contribute positive changes agency-wide, as well as to set the tone for their legacy.

It’s also common for new leadership to bring in a technology they have experience with when the agency doesn’t currently have a solution in place. Off-duty technology can be seen as an easy upgrade with the potential to make a big impact.

After internal review or audit

An audit or internal review can result from any number of things, but it’s typically a routine evaluation of administrative systems and processes. Many times, an audit reveals inefficiencies, lack of compliance,  or a lack of fairness in the off-duty process. The audit process itself can also unravel a glaring need for better documentation if there isn’t currently something in place. Ideally, a department implements best practices and new technologies before an audit to get ahead of and prevent possible issues.

After an internal investigation into officer(s) actions

Complaints or critical incidents that occur during off-duty can spur a criminal or administrative investigation. At this point, implementing technology that provides the agency with better oversight and the officers with better accountability becomes critical.

Emerging technologies and policing have a long and vibrant history, and there is no time like the present to embrace technological advancements, even if the change seems daunting at first. It’s always beneficial to employ a technology that improves transparency, streamlines administrative processes and protects the officers and the agency from liability. It’s important to take advantage of the times that enlisting new technology is a natural progression within an LEA to help build momentum and enthusiasm in embracing these tools.

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