Previously, we did a blog post on Six Technologies that Are Changing Law Enforcement. As technology in law enforcement continues to evolve, it’s time to look at new tech trends that will change the industry even further. These technologies look to protect the public while ensuring the safety of police officers. While all of these technologies have already been implemented in some police agencies, we predict that they will be an area that will be heavily explored by other agencies.
Below are the five future tech trends in law enforcement.
Virtual Reality (VR) Training
The need to improve police training has become increasingly apparent in today’s climate. It’s crucial for officers to be able to manage crises and de-escalate dangerous ones. While it may be difficult to recreate these consequential situations in real-life, VR has made recreating any scenario possible. Axon has released a new VR training for law enforcement which focuses around training on reducing use-of-force. Some examples of the new scenarios that Axon has released include officer intervention training, post-traumatic stress injury (PSI) training for both community members and officers, Alzheimer’s/Dementia training, and hard of hearing training.
A great example of a police agency using VR training is Halton Regional Police Service. They launched a program to provide “empathy-based training by simulating scenarios with people who are experiencing mental health issues.” VR allows the officers to put themselves in the shoes of both the officer responding to the call and the person in crisis. They stated that the technology has been a ‘game changer’.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
The ongoing expansion of technology means more data is being generated. While this is valuable, it can be very time-consuming to analyze when done by humans. AI solves this problem by improving efficiency. AI is being used in a multitude of ways, including surveillance, facial recognition, biometrics, and scanning video footage. It’s also essential in solving non-violent crimes. AI is suited for spotting patterns and anomalies, so it’s a great tool to use when trying to identify counterfeit goods and stolen credit cards.
Police are mostly mobile, so it’s crucial for them to receive critical information anywhere and anytime. With wearable tech such as a smartwatch, police officer safety is improved. Smartwatches can be used in a variety of ways, the first being a CAD device. It allows police to quickly review incoming information without having to be close to a patrol car. Second, it can be set up to send an SOS alert quickly and discreetly. As it’s CAD-enabled and GPS-equipped, the warning goes straight to dispatch, who will take action to deploy assistance. Lastly, smartwatches can detect heart rates which can determine whether an officer is on a foot pursuit or lying still. With the GPS feature, dispatch can then identify the officer’s specific location.
With the increasing need for transparency, social media has become one of the best ways to connect with the general public. Social media platforms, such as Twitter, allow for real-time updates. Further, building an extensive network on social media can help solve crimes as police can share the information with a broader audience. Lastly, police are always looking for ways to engage with their community, and social media certainly makes this easier. Police can directly respond to their followers, showcase their community relations efforts, and sell merchandise, ultimately building a stronger relationship with their community. For more examples of how police agencies are using social media, check out our blog post here.
Workforce Management Software
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that using a spreadsheet or paper and pencil just won’t cut it anymore. It can lead to negative consequences within your agency, such as high overtime costs, increased risk, high turnover due to low staff morale, and inefficiency. Also, the risk of understaffing or staffing officers without sufficient training can be detrimental to the safety of officers and the general public. With a proper workforce management software built for Public Safety like InTime, agencies can better ensure compliance, improve risk management, and save on agency costs. Agencies such as the University of Kentucky Police Department experienced some of these benefits when they implemented a workforce management software.
As technology used for crimes evolve, there will be continued adoption of technology that protect the public. We’re confident that tech trends will change and improve and we’re looking forward to seeing what innovation is in store for law enforcement. Let us know – are there new tech tools that we didn’t mention?