New technology is dramatically changing the law enforcement world. Officers who began their careers with a pen and a notebook now find themselves immersed in phone applications, squad computers and body cameras. Items like drones and lasers were once regarded as “science fiction”; now these products are widely integrated into departments worldwide. As exciting as this technology is, law enforcement must remember the purpose behind the tech: to save time and lives.
Surveillance Drones and Robots
Drones, robots and similar modern police technology can be used to solve and prevent crime and are relative new law enforcement technology. Surveillance drones act as eyes in the sky, whereas robots can sneak around on the ground. Both technologies can enter locations law enforcement officers cannot, either physically or due to the risk of injury or death.
In 2016, police forces across the nation acquired a record number of ground robots from the U.S. military. The most widely used robots can climbs stairs, operates under one meter of water and navigates through rubble. This makes the bots perfect for bomb disposal and scouting, thus allowing departments to plan better responses and save lives.
Social media is a surprisingly effectual tool for law enforcement. From Facebook to Twitter, departments use social platforms to assist with criminal investigations, notify the public of crime, participate in community outreach, public relations, or provide emergency or disaster-related information. These reasons—and more—are why 96.4% of law enforcement agencies surveyed use social media (2015 Social Media Survey, IACP).
From time to time, departments ask the public for help through social media. In the case of Kettering Police Department, the subject of a hit-and-run was identified by the public within 20 minutes of posting on Facebook. Social channels can also bridge the gap and create a positive relationship between law enforcement and the public.
Police Car Computers
The increasing portability of laptops, tablets and other connected devices provide new applications for officers. Apps and services help communicate with non-English speakers if a translator is unavailable, offer electronic ticket-writing services and provide access to records and other important documents while on-the-go.
Choosing a smarter, technology-driven route also means going paperless. Laptops and tablets improve data collection and accuracy, save money, pair with mobile devices and can instantly upload reports to online police systems—thus making processing more efficient. Through in-car computers and similar devices, law enforcement are able to spend more time in the field and away from the desk.
Automatic License Plate Readers
The automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system is a new, integrated camera-database technology designed to make officers’ lives easier. The system photographs a car’s license plate, then checks the plate against a known database. If the vehicle is stolen, wanted, suspended or revoked, or if the vehicle owner is wanted in connection to crimes, the officer is instantly alerted.
This golden age of technology has equally affected training. State-of-the-art law enforcement simulators like the V-300 have replaced older, simple role-playing exercises. Trainees are now immersed in a 300-degree environment filled with realistic scenarios brought to life through professional actors, seamless high-resolution video and multi-directional surround sound. The development of our drop-in laser recoil kits allows officers to use their department firearms in the simulation for added realism.
For more information on using modern technology to prepare officers, please contact us.
Train hard, stay safe and keep it consistent.