No longer relegated to "nice-to-have" status or the province of the most prosperous, law enforcement technology has changed the way police conduct business and continues to do so. Emerging technologies and new uses for existing technologies are changing the landscape of police work every day. The technology project planning process alone has created opportunities for change, mobilizing people across organizations, regions, and disciplines, and creating effective partnerships as they work toward shared goals. Once implemented, technology can have a lasting effect on law enforcement agency efforts and the communities they serve. From enhancing crime prevention and crime-solving strategies to improving information-sharing capabilities to expanding the reach of emergency management resources, technology's use in law enforcement has been upgraded to "must-have" status.
Since 1994, the COPS Office has supported the use of technology to advance the community policing efforts of state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies, awarding more than $2.4 billion in funding across the nation (as of FY09). Visitors can find resources on topics such as call management, data sharing and information systems, voice interoperability, and surveillance video, as well as links to general technology planning, training opportunities, and information sharing systems portals.
Technology plays a key role in community policing as the facilitator of partnerships, enhancer of problem-solving, and enabler of organizational change.
- Increase community access to law enforcement information and services to the community. It can facilitate police-community dialogue, increasing transparency and enabling accurate and timely information sharing that can inform police response strategies and save lives. Such technologies include 311 systems, reverse-911, e-mail notifications, listservs, agency websites, and social networking tools.
- Reduce barriers to information sharing within and among law enforcement agencies across regions and across disciplines. That makes it easier to achieve multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary coordinated responses to emergencies. Such technologies include: P-25 CAP compliant land mobile radios, data-sharing systems and justice integration initiatives.
- Enhance problem-solving efforts through the collection of timely and accurate data fed through robust information systems. For example, CAD, RMS, enhanced-911, 311, online citizen surveys, and surveillance video technologies can all produce data for use in analysis.
- Enable standardization and access of local, state, tribal, and federal data collection and data-sharing protocols and information systems, which in turn, can enable the analysis and production of actionable intelligence. Such efforts include NIEM and N-DEx.
- Enable organizational efficiencies that inform deployment strategies, improve response times, and create opportunities for community policing activities. Such technologies include: automatic in-field reporting, mobile data systems, CAD, RMS, 311, Enhanced 911, GIS, automatic vehicle location (AVL), and on-line non-emergency crime reporting.