In an effort to continue to keep us safe, law enforcement and other first responders are embracing and responding to the implementation of new technologies. In this post we'll take a look at three technology areas impacting how law enforcement carries out their mission - video, autonomous vehicles, and Internet of Things.
Video Improves Transparency and Public Collaboration
Body and dash cameras were originally introduced in the United Kingdom in 2005, followed by large-scale implementation in the United States in 2014. Their wide application was designed to "make police services more transparent and officers more accountable." The technology has proven its worth. For example, only 2.1% of citizen complaints filed in Chicago between 2010 and 2016 resulted in a disciplinary action against police officers, according to the Invisible Institute. Part of this was due to the fact that investigations were carried out internally by police departments with little outside input. A recent study found that today, with the use of video evidence, police officers are 64% more likely to be subject to disciplinary action after a complaint investigation.
Recording the footage is only part of the solution to best using video. That footage must also be widely distributed to help in identifying suspects. In doing so, departments have to be mindful of privacy issues of others who may have been recorded. Video redaction can be a time consuming process that wastes valuable hours. Today, departments are utilizing AI-enabled redaction cutting the process down to minutes.
How Do You Arrest an Automated Vehicle?
Adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, blind spot detection and lane-keep assistance are designed to help drivers, but when they are not used properly, responders are now tasked with a new set of details that have to be collected and examined at accident scenes. A new report from the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) outlines how public safety workers can better understand and interact with automated vehicles such as:
- How first responders disable, move or stabilize one of these vehicles
- How responders cut through one of these vehicles to remove an occupant safely
- How responders know that one of these vehicles is able to detect emergency vehicles or first responders directing traffic at the scene of a crash and take action to avoid hitting them
- How responders determine ownership of one of these vehicles
- How responsibility is assigned at an incident or when conducting a traffic stop
Beyond having to respond to autonomous cars, law enforcement is increasingly using autonomous technology in the form of drones. These devices help improve situational awareness during natural disasters as well as more routine enforcement efforts such as locating missing persons or suspects, inspecting accidents, or investigating public safety complaints.
Expanding the Force with (Internet of) Things, Not People
States and localities are getting funding from federal sources, including the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, to implement Internet of Things (IoT) technologies to extend the line of sight for first responders. With connected sensors and long-range, low-power IoT technology that leverages artificial intelligence and streaming analytics, cities can collect information about what is happening across their jurisdiction. Pulling that data into artificial intelligence enables systems to spot trends or patterns that could lead to more proactive efforts in combating crime and/or destruction from natural disasters.
GovEvents and GovWhitePapers feature a number of resorces that address public safety-specific topics as well as broader technology events that dig into how to get the most out of technology investments and implementations. Here are just a few:
- What Does Law Enforcement Need to Know about Precision Policing 2.0? (February 16, 2022; webcast) - To help drive the next generation of policing that both reduces crime and builds legitimacy in the community, the University of Cincinnati's Institute of Crime Science established the new Precision Policing 2.0 framework based on real-world learning from the first generation of Precision Policing and adds new strategies that utilize the latest technology, embrace transparency and accountability, champion officer wellness, and better engage with the communities.
- Smart Cities Connect Conference and Expo (April 4-7, 2022; Columbus, OH) - Join a thoughtful community of decision-makers to empower smart cities at all stages of growth. Learn how to accelerate the adoption of smart technology solutions, aid in problem solving, and amplify city resources for the betterment of cities, communities, and their citizens.
- Social Media Strategies Summit for First Responders (May 9-12, 2022; virtual) - Dedicated to how public safety professionals can leverage social media to better serve their communities, this event provides strategies and tips for tackling issues most important to first responders including social media and crisis communications, humanizing staff, improving agency reputation, and building relationships with the community.
- Advancing Public Safety in Boston: An Agenda for the Next Mayor (white paper) - This white paper provides a historical overview on policing in Boston, a summary of the current threats and challenges facing the City of Boston, and recommendations for the next Mayor of Boston on how to improve public safety for all individuals who live, work, and visit the city.
- Developing Analysis, Modeling, and Simulation Tools for Connected and Automated Vehicle Applications (case study) - This report documents a simulation-based case study completed by the Department of Transportation to investigate the effectiveness of automation technology for mitigating or solving existing transportation problems related to congestion, fuel consumption, and emissions.
- Body-Worn Cameras (BWC) in Policing: Benefits and Costs (whitepaper) - This paper reviews what is known about the benefits of BWCs and how those benefits compare to the costs of this new technology. Included are two contributions relative to existing research.