The Police Chief - January 2011 - (Page 72)
T E C H N O L O G Y
T A L K
Technology Is Playing an Expanding Role in Policing
By David J. Roberts, Senior Program Manager, IACP Technology Center
Editor’s note: This column is the first of two columns about technology’s role in policing. The second column, which will examine role of technology in building and sustaining community engagement with law enforcement and also assess the impact of technology on policing, will appear in the February 2011 issue of Police Chief magazine. The source for the figure and the table appearing in this column is Brian A. Reaves, Local Police Departments, 2007, NCJ 23117, Bureau of Justice Statistics (December 2010).
TABLE 12 FIGURE
Types of computerized information accessible to in- eld o cers in local police departments, by size of population served, 2007
Vehicle records 52 100 100 98 93 93 88 70 54 33 Driving records 48 100 87 93 86 85 81 65 49 31 Warrants 48 100 94 98 88 86 81 68 48 31 Types of information accessible in the eld using in- eld computers (%) Protection Interagency Calls-for- service Criminal orders information sharing history history records Internet 42 37 34 32 30 92 69 85 77 23 71 61 61 58 42 89 65 83 63 46 68 59 71 52 47 71 58 76 53 46 66 60 66 50 40 58 47 47 45 31 44 38 30 34 35 28 25 22 21 23 Crime maps 11 31 29 48 32 31 16 11 9 8 Population served All sizes 1,000,000 or more 500,000–999,999 250,000–499,999 100,000–249,999 50,000–99,999 25,000–49,999 10,000–24,999 2,500–9,999 Under 2,500
Note: Detail may not sum to total because of rounding.
nts, inuld be (34%) ords. The departesidents. ss to yed 73% s to %.
3 times nt using %) as in
e departor termimore 2 times wise, the king for a uters or igher times (30%).
reases in puters populaeld comerving ased
According to the 2007 LEMAS survey recently released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice,1 local police departments report using computers for a variety of law enforcement functions, including records management (79 percent), crime investigation echnology, in a very real sense, is trans(60 percent), information sharing (50 percent), forming policing in fundamental respects. and dispatch (49 percent). All larger police New and emerging technologies are playing departments (that is, those serving populations an increasingly crucial role in the daily work of of 250,000 or more) reported using computers for frontline police officers, equipping them with crime analysis and crime mapping (100 percent), enforcement and investigative tools that have and these functions were also automated in a the potential to make them better informed and vast majority of midsized agencies (that is, those more effective. serving populations of 25,000–249,999). Law enforcement use of computer technolMore than 90 percent of agencies serving ogy has expanded substantially over the past populations of 25,000 or more reported having two decades. Given the increasing power and access to automated fingerprint identification diminishing costs of technology, the extensive systems (AFIS) and using infield computers (for growth in mobile communications infrastrucexample, mobile digital computers, terminals, ture, and the expansion of innovative applicaand laptops) (see figure 1). In addition to the tions available, computer usage continues to broad availability of infield computers, officers increase in law enforcement agencies throughalso had access to an expanding array of informaout the United States. tion including vehicle records (88 percent); driving records (81 percent); FIGURE 1 FIGURE 16. warrants (81 percent); Local police departments using in-field computers or terminals, by size of population protection orders (66 served, 1997–2007 percent); interagency Population served information sharing (60 2007 percent); calls-for-service 2003 250,000 or more history (60 percent); and 2000 1997 criminal history records (50 percent) (see table 1). Police departments of all 50,000 - 249,999 sizes were much more likely to use electronic methods to transmit criminal incident reports 10,000 - 49,999 to headquarters, with 60 percent of all agencies in 2007, compared to just 38 percent in 2003. AutoUnder 10,000 mating the transmission of incident reports is a critical element in build0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 100%
ing timely, accurate information and informationsharing capabilities. In addition to infield computers, two-thirds of police departments throughout the nation reported regularly using video cameras, and well over half (61 percent) reported using video cameras in patrol cars. The deployment of in-car video cameras has increased markedly since the year 2000 in agencies of all sizes.
Police patrol cars throughout the United States are among the most technologically sophisticated and well-equipped vehicles on the road today. Configured with laptop computers or mobile digital terminals/computers, in-car cameras, automated license plate readers, multiband radios, RADAR/LIDAR devices, automated vehicle location, emergency lights, sirens, and much more, the cockpit of the typical police car might appear to the uninitiated to be nearly as complicated as that of a jet airplane and every bit as crowded. The technology of the police vehicle is further augmented by that which is often carried or worn personally by the officer. Increasingly officers are wearing or carrying a variety of new technologies, including a smartphone,2 a lesslethal weapon, and perhaps a body-worn video camera,3 in addition to the standard complement of a firearm, handcuffs, extra ammunition, a baton, a flashlight, and other items. Technology has empowered officers in the field by giving them the ability to initiate queries of multiple justice-related databases. Officers are also increasingly able to access and query an expanding array of databases that can greatly assist in determining the identity of the person with whom they are dealing; that person’s legal status (for example, wanted, on probation, on parole or on pre-trial release); as well as historical information regarding the address to which officers are dispatched and
Technology and the Law Enforcement Officer
THE POLICE CHIEF/JANUARY 2011
Percentage of departments
FIGURE 17. Local police officers employed by a department providing in-field computer access to
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Police Chief - January 2011
The Police Chief - January 2011
President’s Message: Introducing IACP’s Conference Rotation Plan
Legislative Alert: Mandatory Collective Bargaining Legislation Sidelined Again
IACP Foundation: Fourth Annual Foundation Fundraiser Flies High in Orlando
Chief's Counsel: Federal Collective Bargaining Legislation for State and Municipal Public Safety Personnel
Advances & Applications
Updating Ethics Training-Policing Privacy Series: Taking Race out of the Perception Equation
Understanding the Psychology of Police Misconduct
Psychological Factors after Officer-Involved Shootings: Addressing Officer Needs and Agency Responsibilities
War on Terror or Policing Terrorism? Radicalization and Expansion of the Threats
2010 IACP Awards
Index to Advertisers
Highway Safety Initiatives
The Police Chief - January 2011