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Police technology:
How do police
use technology
to fight crime?

Author: Mark Stone

As technology continues to advance across every aspect of society, one sector in particular that stands to benefit from its use is law enforcement.

From cyber crime to the darknet, technology poses innumerable challenges for the police. But police technology also has great potential to help law enforcement agencies communicate, coordinate and solve crimes more efficiently. Police can embrace scalable, cutting-edge technology solutions to maximize their effectiveness and work in a changing world.

In this article, we'll explore ways for police departments to achieve success and address the question, "How do police use technology to fight crime?"

Police technology challenges

Technology, when deployed effectively and properly, can improve organizational efficiency dramatically. However, technology may also represent significant productivity roadblocks.

For many police departments, several challenges persist:

  1. Poor communication and interoperability between officers, departments and other public services. Law enforcement teams need to stay connected as closely and efficiently as possible so they can respond to crimes and events in real time. Unfortunately, many teams rely on inefficient systems and tools that scale poorly, making it difficult to maintain close, ongoing communication
  2. Outdated technology. Many police departments are dependent on legacy systems that aren't equipped to handle today's accelerated demands. Only about 50% of 911 calls today arrive with location data; that data is often inaccurate or lacks detail when location is identified. In a typical example, officers must rely on a single address for an entire apartment complex.
  3. The need to do more with less. Police departments need to get the most out of their force—especially as officers are leaving in record numbers. It's crucial for police technology to be leveraged to help police departments counter labor shortages with new efficiencies.

How do police use technology to fight crime?

For some police departments, technology is already being used to do their jobs more effectively and maximize their impact. Seventy percent of law enforcement agencies are already leveraging IT to better prevent crime.

Here are some examples of how police are using technology to fight crime and optimize resources:

More advanced vehicles

Technology is enabling the transformation of police vehicles into mobile data centers with a range of powerful features. On-board cameras, LTE radios, GPS sensors, mounted laptops and automated license plate readers (ALPR) are just a few examples. This data can be connected wirelessly back to the central command center, creating a new level of communication and alignment.

Access to critical data

Now, officers can access critical information in seconds, view data about crimes and offenders while on the beat, and even use predictive analytics to anticipate where crimes will be committed.

Improved near real-time communication

Advanced communication tools, enabled by high-speed networks, could allow police to communicate in near real-time and share relevant data to provide situational awareness with other units and departments. In high-stakes situations, precious seconds can be saved.

Infrastructure and resources for police technology

To access these advantages and reap the benefits of a connected and high-tech police force, certain resources and infrastructure must be in place. The most critical include:

  • Cutting-edge connectivity. To access critical information rapidly and reliably "in the moment," law enforcement units need fast and reliable 4G LTE or 5G connections that allow them to rapidly send data across large distances while on the move. This level of connectivity isn't possible without a sophisticated infrastructure of wireless networks.
  • Telematics. Law enforcement departments need to keep tabs on all their units, vehicles and police officers at all times (even when officers are outside their vehicle), allowing them to respond quickly to situations and when officers are in need. With telematics, they can share GPS coordinates to headquarters, improve routing, share live video and audio feeds using dashcams, and save costs.
  • Live video. By sharing live video across wireless networks, police officers can monitor crowds and crisis situations, keep other units informed as they enter a new scene, and even be more accountable and transparent through tools like bodycams.
  • Cloud technology. The cloud enables law enforcement officers to save data securely, manage records and other documents safely and easily from the field, and prepare for disasters like data breaches.

Today, police officers face a multitude of roadblocks that impede progress, but they also have better tools at their disposal than ever before. By focusing on connectivity, driven by advanced wireless networks and technologies like 4G LTE and 5G, law enforcement units can give themselves the tools needed to communicate more effectively, use resources much more efficiently and help keep communities safe.

How do police use technology to fight crime? Verizon is helping police departments across the country communicate, coordinate and multiply the efficiency of their force with connectivity. Find out more about how the Verizon 4G LTE network can help law enforcement get the most out of police technology.