Technological advancements have increased the abilities of people everywhere, including on the job. One area it has particularly helped is police work. While a lot of crime solving comes with intuition, piecing clues together, and witnesses, tech has advanced the abilities of officers in the area of big police work. Here are four of the most influential tools that are available to officers right now.
- While people mostly use drones for recreational purposes, there are also plenty of other uses for these machines that serve as an eye-in-the-sky. Just as helicopters and video cameras have been used to pursue a suspect, the drones serves the same purpose. Rather than calling in a large helicopter that may not be close, officers can quickly use a drone to do the job. Even though a reliable and sturdy drone can be expensive, the cost is minimal when compared to the operating cost of a helicopter. Training to use a drone is minimal as well, further decreasing the bottom line.
- Web Based Police Software. One of the most beneficial changes to operations is the ability to connect through software that is web based. From dispatch centers to officers on patrol, each step of answering calls for help has been storing and using their data separately. Now units can connect with each other, sending real time information to help officers in the field answer emergency calls, track cars, and stay up to date on alerts to their smart phones and tablets. Officers can update their statuses through apps and stay up on their reports while still in the car. This saves officers time and the public money. Another benefit is that with this software, officers can run license plates and drivers licenses through the law enforcement software system and see if the suspect is wanted, the car is stolen, or there are unpaid tickets outside the officer’s jurisdiction area. None of this was available in years past.
- Social Media. While Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram aren’t exactly new, the abilities they provide police officers are influential. Officers now can interact with the public, send calls for help in a missing person’s case, and even ask for recognition of suspects caught with video surveillance. Having the public help in solving crimes when speed is vital has been a game changer in police work. Before, officers relied on newspaper and news stations to send out these calls, but with social media, information reaches a bigger audience in a shorter amount of time, with updates available quickly.
- The science and technology of biometrics uses unique, biological traits like fingerprints, retina scans, and DNA, to identify people. A lot of this isn’t new to police work, but the availability of the technology is increasing. In the past, taking fingerprints included messy ink pads, labs to process the information, and a central information center that stored it. Getting necessary information could take weeks or months to get back, which really slowed down solving crimes. Today, there are smaller, portable, cleaner ways to collect this information at something as simple as a traffic stop. This technology is so widely available that even laptops and cellphones currently on the market use it to unlock the computer, rather than using a password.
The Future of Police Work
While most of this technology wasn’t available to police officers even 15 years ago, it is even more amazing what will be used in 15 more years. Already there are devices being created that have potential to increase an officer’s abilities. One tool that is close to fruition is wearing glasses with microcomputers and facial recognition software. Both the glasses and the facial recognition software have been created, but once they are combined and operational together, officers will be able to look around and have the software recognize people who have warrants out for their arrest or find missing people easier. Technology is out to change the world even more.