How technology
can enhance
officer safety

Author: Michael Begonis, Chief of Staff, Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team

In an era called "one of the most dangerous" by the National President of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), officers must be equipped with cutting-edge tools and training to be both effective and safe. Law enforcement technology can play an important role in maintaining officer safety through enhancing operational readiness, improving situational awareness, and addressing police shortages. 

Law enforcement technology and operational readiness

Training can help prepare police for the dangerous situations they may face. However, it can be expensive and short-staffed departments may find it difficult to provide coverage for officers to participate. Augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology can enhance tactical training and preparedness for police and other first responders as well as allow officers the opportunity to practice de-escalation techniques in a safe environment. AR/VR training has also been recognized for helping build greater empathy among officers, which can be a critical component in an officer's effectiveness. Not only can moving training to a virtual environment improve officer safety but can make training more accessible while reducing the impact on staffing resources.

The importance of improving situational awareness for officer safety

Improving situational awareness through access to both on-scene information and off-scene data can enhance decision-making and better prepare officers for challenging situations. Indeed, developing a near real-time comprehensive view of an incident or situation can be an important factor in preventing line-of-duty deaths. A range of law enforcement technology can be used to enhance situational awareness.

Geospatial technology

Tracking the live location of police is a critical component of officer safety. Location-based platforms such as Intrepid, combined with Z-axis technology and wearable sensors, can help incident command track and give directions to personnel. 

Intelligent video

Intelligent video allows agencies to "do more with less" by embedding robust data analytics within high-quality video systems. Typically deployed near strategically important infrastructure, large venues, soft targets, and high-traffic areas, these systems can autonomously identify and detect suspicious or abnormal behavior and provide near real-time alerts.


Whether monitoring a large crowd, helping with a search and rescue operation or natural disaster, drones can help law enforcement quickly understand conditions and receive the data they need to make informed decisions. Drones can also operate in dangerous circumstances where officer safety could be in jeopardy.

IoT sensors

Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and fleet management solutions can track vehicle and equipment movement, providing command to pinpoint the location of police and emergency vehicles.

Real-time response system

A real-time response system can benefit officer safety by providing a consolidated, accurate and real-time view of their jurisdiction. The system provides a unified, integrated view of multiple data streams and sources, such as computer-aided dispatch, record management systems and third-party databases, allowing not only for responding to immediate emergencies but also detecting longer-term patterns.

Police transparency and safety

Law enforcement technology can have the dual benefit of enhancing public and officer safety while facilitating police transparency and building trust with the community. The Veritone Law Enforcement Transparency and Trust report found 42% of survey respondents said a lack of transparency has hurt their perception of law enforcement, while one-quarter indicated increased trust in local law enforcement due to greater transparency.

Technology can help foster greater transparency by making it easier for departments to compile and share relevant data. Case management tools can not only help improve clearance rates but can also make it easier to document notable incidents such as the use of force. Patrol management software can provide commanders and supervisors with greater visibility into patrol activities and can be used to show the public how police are responding to recent crime trends and community feedback on policing.

Body-worn cameras

Police transparency via body-worn cameras (BWCs) can help enhance public trust and contribute to more positive police-community contacts. Research shows that when certain preconditions are met, BWCs can have a "civilizing effect" encouraging better behaviors by the parties involved in an interaction. According to research from the University of Chicago, BWCs reduce police use of force by about 10%, and complaints against police who were wearing BWCs were reduced by almost 17%.

However, the review process can be cumbersome and with so many hours of footage, many videos may remain unviewed1. Artificial intelligence (AI) can be used to transcribe and analyze mass amounts of video footage and to help quickly identify scenarios that include insults, profanity and threats. AI can also transform the process from a reactive one, where footage is only reviewed once an incident has occurred, to a proactive approach where potential issues might be identified and addressed before something goes wrong.

Technology as a force multiplier

A complicating factor for police safety is the current, nationwide law enforcement staffing shortage. Fewer available officers to undertake the dangerous responsibilities of policing has the potential to jeopardize community and officer safety. The 2022 Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) nationwide survey on recruitment and retention found, on average, that responding agencies reported high rates of resignations (42.7%) and retirements (23.6%). Further, police departments can fill only 94.1% of authorized positions.

Embracing law enforcement technology can help compensate for chronic staffing shortages that are impacting virtually every agency in the country. Advanced, mission-critical communication solutions for first responders can be a force multiplier to assist law enforcement in executing their job safely, efficiently, and effectively. 

How Verizon supports officer safety

To be at their most effective, officers need law enforcement technology that increases situational awareness and enhances mission-critical communications combined with a fast, reliable communications network. Verizon's LTE and 5G networks, where available, can provide the high speeds, bandwidth, throughput and low latency needed to support the technology that supports police officer safety.

Verizon's 5G network was voted the most reliable 5G network by RootMetrics® State of the Mobile Union report and is the top network choice for public safety.3

Verizon Frontline is the network designed for first responders. Learn more about how Verizon can help provide the support you need—and deserve—with public safety applications, tools and solutions you can rely on.

This content was authored by Michael Begonis, Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team Chief of Staff, Retire Chief of Police, Former RRT, SWAT Control Chief, Emergency Management Executive.

1 Gaining Trust Through Cameras,” Product Feature, Police Chief 90, no. 4 (2023): 100-102.

2 Police Executive Research Forum PERF, Survey of Officers from 2019 through 2021.

3 Based on the RootMetrics® State of 5G in the US Report: 2H 2022.