Does your police department embrace technology? Or are you still running it like it’s 1999? The chances are, you have adopted some technological advances to make your work more efficient, while other technologies didn’t make sense for you at the time. But the times have changed and police tech has evolved. Here are some of the newer police tech items you may find useful in supporting your department’s goals, simplifying operations, improving transparency or decreasing liability.
Police Body Cameras
Body cameras in law enforcement are not an entirely new concept, but the interest in them has exploded after the most recent highly publicized incidents of alleged police violence. Many police agencies (as much as 25% according to one study), have already implemented body cameras for their law enforcement officers. There are obvious privacy concerns associated with body cameras, for both police officers and the general public. However, let’s not forget about the many benefits of body cameras, such as discouraging police brutality, reducing the number of false accusations and building trust with people by showing that the steps were taken to prevent abuse of power by police officers. Besides, body cameras are also effective for training purposes, providing comprehensive data for the evaluation of the recruit, as well as the training officer.
A whiteboard is something most police departments use frequently, whether for team meetings, case briefs or class instruction. However, traditional dry-erase boards may not be the best solution for your needs. They limit the type of information you can display, require extensive note-taking and are not really “sharable.” Newer technology exists that combines a whiteboard with a projector, making for fast, convenient and interactive presentation. Most interactive whiteboards allow the presenter to control their connected computer from the whiteboard, make annotations on top of the streamed content and save and share notes electronically. Some whiteboards can also be streamed to mobile devices to allow for real-time collaboration and logistics, such as in an event of a hostage situation.
Here is a video from one of the interactive whiteboard makers showcasing the capabilities of their product, just to give you an idea of what it can do:
Cameras for K9 Units
We’ve talked about body cameras for police officers, but let’s not forget that K9s are police officers too! And there are cameras they can wear that will help make the human’s job easier and more effective. Cameras on K9s are useful in many ways. First of all, they can gather additional visual information, such as the crime scene before a drug bust or the image of the suspect on the run. Second of all, K9 cameras allow the human officer to control the dog remotely via a radio, which can be useful in such situations as search and rescue, as well as building searches.
Here is an example of a K9 camera used on a dog in the UK.
Real-time Crime Mapping
There are several crime-mapping software products such as Crimemapping.com and Raidsonline.com available to law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. These products allow you to make your department’s crime statistics, such as type and location of the crimes, publicly available. Why would you do that? This type of information helps reduce the number of calls you get from people asking about crimes in their neighborhood. Some police departments have also reported that this improves the number and quality of tips they receive, particularly regarding theft. In addition to that, residents in areas with high criminal activity may see a need for a neighborhood watch or may take additional measures to avoid becoming a victim of a crime.
Here is an example of a Canadian PD implementing crime-mapping software back in 2013:
Digital Record Keeping
If your department hasn’t moved to digital record-keeping yet, you are missing out and probably wasting time. There are numerous ways you can streamline your operations by making all sorts of records accessible on a computer or mobile device. At MdE, Inc., we’ve designed software that helps you do just that—easily access and share the information across people, units and devices. Some key record keeping areas to address include:
- Field training and daily observation reports
- Employee performance evaluations
- Attendance and grading for on-site training
- Employee records management and job requirement tracking
- Equipment and K9 tracking
Have more questions about how each of these types of police software can help in the daily operation of your department? Give us a call or contact us online to request a free demo!