Almost every sector you can imagine has been changed by technology. Law enforcement is no exception. Huge strides have been taken technologically to improve law enforcement and provide professionals with the necessary equipment to protect citizens and investigate crimes.
Briefly on the Subject of Law Enforcement
Law enforcement has such a far-reaching history, it is incredibly difficult to trace. The Roman Empire, however, had an effective and overbearing law enforcement that was created to maintain tranquility and enforce obedience among the Jews. In 1800, Scotland created the Glasgow Police Department; they were the first ever skilled Police Department. Canada followed suit in 1834, when the Toronto Police force was established. The first Police Department in the United States was the Boston Police Department and it came into being in 1939. The American policing system adopted a lot of strategies from the existing British policing system; strategies like police patrol, crime deterrence and investigation, and quick response. Regardless of the hardcore police system that was established in Britain and the United States, citizens’ freedom was greatly emphasized, which was was not the case in other European factions; the police were given a long rope in these countries and the freedom of their citizens was constantly infringed upon. The free rein given to the law enforcement agencies of these countries was so much so that there were constant cases of police brutality and abuse of power.
In most countries in the world, law enforcement agencies are centralized, mostly under the federal government of said countries. In Britain and the United States, law enforcement is decentralized; the United States have separate federal law enforcement agencies (CIA, FBI, Marshall Service etc.), State Police Departments and the State Troopers.
In the early twentieth century, several movements helped spur the creation of better law enforcement agencies, in the United States in particular.
About thirty years ago, the police two-way radio became the first real technological upgrade in the United States law enforcement. Thirty years later and the police radio has around thirty channels, police cars have video cameras, department-issued mobile investigation management, forensics departments, cyber policing and even a police website.
Despite the astronomical investment in technology for policing, crime rates haven’t reduced, in fact, crimes are now more organized, with the openness of social media helping criminals to connect and target their victims. Even the police scanners themselves have become a spy tool for criminals, and certain applications have been created that display the location of law enforcement agents, potentially exposing them to harm. While technology may help criminals, it also leaves way too many digital prints and trails for the law enforcement agencies to follow. With the right equipment and personnel, the digital trails left behind by these criminals could be traceable.
David Clarke states that, “American law enforcement officers understand that race is and has been a heated issue in our country. Most appreciate the vital need for thoroughness and transparency in pursuit of the greater good in their actions and in their investigations.”
Technologies That Have Transformed Law Enforcement
- Mobile Investigation Management: The Mobile Investigation Management is made up of mobile programs containing data and communication outlays to help law enforcement officers maintain peace and enforce the law. The Mobile Investigation Management works in real time and reduces the amount of pressure involved in the traditional method of searching for data by going from place to place and the ensuing sluggish response time. The MIM is often in the form of a tab device.
- Social Media: The primary use of social media is for personal reasons. It is, however, also being used by the police and other law enforcement agencies. Social media is being used to engage with the public and obtain knowledge about what is happening.
- The Police Radio: The police radio is just brilliant; the ability of police officers to respond to crime in real time is invaluable. The police radio listens to criminals talking privately and emergency calls before relaying the information to officers, who are mostly on patrol. The police radio also helps to track the movement and location of police officers.
- Car Cameras and Videos: Car cameras were essentially established as a medium of safety for police officers, as well as accountability. The use of car cameras has increased the confidence of police officers in cases that involve confrontation. The only downside attributed to the use of car cameras is breach of privacy.
- Mobile Devices: The major reason why mobile devices are pivotal for law enforcement is because of their mobility. Mobile devices help police officers to work anywhere and eliminate the additional time that may be required for returning to the office or work spaces. The use of laptops and tablets allow police officers to work efficiently.
- Data Analytics: It is almost impossible to find any police department in the United States or Britain without data analysts. Technology has evolved so much, that the data of all citizens who have social security numbers are available in a central law enforcement database, people with criminal pasts included, and some even contain the names of individuals with criminal tendencies.
- Websites: Most law enforcement agencies have a website. The website usually contains information on the hierarchical structure of the Police Department, emergency mobile numbers and current news related to policing. It is important for law enforcement websites to have an easily recognizable domain name and a trustworthy hosting site such as www.domains4less.co.nz. In setting up and hosting their websites, law enforcement agencies have to make sure that adequate security measures are put in place to prevent hacking.
- Anti-Cyber Crime: If technology hadn’t developed at the time it did, there probably wouldn’t be such a thing as cyber crime right now, or anti-cyber crime. To have an anti-cyber crime unit means, basically, to have a lot of computer geeks; at least that’s what most people think. Cyber crimes have escalated in recent years. A cyber crime is a process of breaking the law through digital means.
It is unbelievable – the speed of technological advancement and the possibilities it has brought with it. With these technological advancements, although crimes have become more organized, law enforcement has garnered more credibility and a stronger reputation. Technology may be giving criminals more dexterity, but a lot of lives are consistently saved through the use of real-time surveillance and profiling equipment.