Police Dispatch Software & Other Technology Helping Law Enforcement

2020-07-23 15:04:00

Police Dispatch Software & 6 Technologies That Have Improved Law Enforcement 

Just 40 years ago, in January 1979, law enforcement agencies around the world were first introduced to computers and their implementation inside police vehicles. This would allow officers to search police databases from the front seat of their patrol cars. 

Fast forward to now, where the advancements in technology are rapidly evolving, including in law enforcement.    With instant access to dispatchers, critical data, GPS, and police records, officers today are better equipped to manage incidents and react quickly to changing situations. These mobile technologies improve officer safety, productivity, situational awareness, and the safety of the public. All of these technological improvements have helped develop what is called Computer Aided Dispatch or CAD.

Technological improvements in CAD and law enforcement technologies now allow police agencies working with smaller or technology restrictive budgets access to this technology, drastically assisting officers.

Here are the top seven ways that mobile solutions and technology have improved law enforcement data and CAD systems for the Police

  1. Tablets, Laptops, and Smartphones

Nowadays, it is not uncommon for law enforcement officers to have laptops in their vehicles to assist with traffic stops. Many departments have also implemented tablets and other mobile devices for their officers to have a higher level of mobility. 

Mobile programs allow law enforcement personnel that are involved in an investigation to use a simple interface where they can manage the case in real-time. These are called Record Management Systems (RMS). This reduces the amount of time spent in communicating new, and sometimes repetitive, information. With immediate access to information stored on national computer databases, this RMS technology can help reduce the lag time between the detection and apprehension of a suspect. Some applications and programs even allow personnel to log evidence and other information without an internet connection.

  1. GPS for Law Enforcement Dispatch

The global positioning system (GPS) plays a significant role in law enforcement for many reasons. Stolen property can be tracked down when it has a GPS installed or built-in. Phones, cars, and heavy machinery are some items that have been recovered by having this technology. GPS technology is used to help track police cars and can be used by a police department to manage its fleet of patrol vehicles. This is otherwise known as a law enforcement dispatch system or Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL). This helps identify which officer is closest to a 911 call, the location of the officer if they need assistance, and limits patrol overlap. GPS has been used to locate people that have gone missing or who were abducted. It also has been used as a tracking device for dangerous criminals, and is used as a monitoring device for parolees. 

  1. Mobile Fingerprinting

Fingerprint readers are small and portable, providing an accurate reading in minutes. This mobile technology allows law enforcement to work in the field and reduces unnecessary travel back to the station while increasing the officer's productivity.  Mobile fingerprinting is especially useful in situations where an officer has no other means of identifying a person.

  1. Body Cameras and Dash Cameras

Body cameras and dash cameras (body cams and dash cams) are technology solutions that increase an officer’s safety and accountability. While there are controversies and issues surrounding these cameras and  their implications of an individual’s privacy, studies have shown that these technologies have significantly impacted the way the public views the work of law enforcement. There have been many cases where an officer was unjustly accused of being overly violent or inappropriate and the cameras absolved the officer of any wrongdoing.. Using these advanced technologies does not only promote officer efficiency but can be a “second set of eyes” which can verify what the officer saw and how they responded. This has been shown to improve transparency to both the public and their superiors.

  1. Social Media

Social media is widely used by police and others in law enforcement to help gather tips for solving a crime, to engage with their local community, and to educate the public about their department and officers. Facebook and Twitter are the most common social media platforms used today. Many departments share videos and pictures of a crime being committed to their social media accounts resulting in thousands of crimes being solved with the assistance of the public. It has been a successful tool to use, with over 91% of departments nationwide using some type of social media.

  1. Hands-Free Operations

A mobile solution that is particularly relevant to law enforcement and public safety personnel is hands-free operation. The importance of this technology is driving a shift away from smartphones, laptops, and tablets, to wearable technology. 

Wearable devices offer a new level of intelligence. Digital Assistants like Alexa and Siri offers hands-free operations by accepting voice commands.  The combination of the digital assistant, along with the hands-free technology, offers a higher level of safety to the officer. There is no need to push a mic to talk to dispatch, free a hand to call for backup when trying to take down a suspect, or use a bloody hand to call for an ambulance when you are trying to help an accident victim. Wearable technology is smart technology.

  1. Drones and Robotics

Many law enforcement agencies are using drones and robotics to assist in their duties. Here are some of the ways that drones and robotics are being implemented:

  • Assistance with chasing suspects

  • Provide lighting at night or other low light situation

  • Crime scene investigation and evidence collection

  • Reconstruction of accidents from aerial views

  • Management of traffic

  • Search and rescue operations

  • Disaster relief

  • Diffusing bombs

  • Accessibility when human/officer entry is not available

  • Gather data

 

Law enforcement agencies are increasingly under scrutiny with a growing pressure to provide a high-quality service. The assistance of new technology reduces the workload of the officers while allowing them to do their job more efficiently and safely. These seven technologies have already proven that mobile solutions greatly improve law enforcement data and save lives.