Small-Town Police Departments Battle Modern Tech Challenges
Almost everyone has likely driven through or stopped by a relatively small town, reminiscent of Mayberry or the other idealistic communities portrayed in the popular media of yesteryear. While such environments may create a longing for the simplicity of less-complex times, even today’s small communities hide within them complex modern problems.
Current trends in public safety may make it unrealistic to expect that any community can get by with Barney Fife-style law enforcement services. As societal norms and the threats that accompany them continue to change, so too must the public safety tools needed to control and combat them.
Today, advanced resources are available to law enforcement departments that make the job of managing public safety much easier. These include:
- Records management software
- Computer-aided dispatch programs
- Automated vehicle locators
- E-Citations applications
Smaller Departments Catching Up to Their Larger Counterparts
Exactly what types of communities are incorporating these new tools into their law enforcement agencies? Information shared by the U.S. Department of Justice shows the use of computer technology by public safety officials serving communities with populations in excess of 50,000 residents to have increased from an average of around 82 percent in 1997 to close to 97-99 percent today. Yet it is in smaller communities where computer-aided law enforcement has seen the biggest gains in popularity.
While only around 53 percent of agencies in cities of between 10,000-50,000 people used such applications in the mid-nineties, over 80 percent use them today. Usage of advanced law enforcement technology in communities of less than 10,000 has seen the most dramatic increase, going from around only 20 percent in 1997 to over 50 percent currently.
You may believe your community to be immune from the types of issues that require the support of advanced technological tools designed for law enforcement; however, when your ultimate duty is to serve and protect, can you really afford to not have the most current resources at your disposal? While the investment in upgrading your department’s technology may seem to be steep now, the fruits of such an investment will be well worth it in the future.