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How Technology Has Made The Job Of Policing More Efficient & Safer

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How Technology Has Made The Job Of Policing Better

Security Consultant

“The police are the public and the public are the police. The police being only members of the public who are paid to give full time attention to duties which are incumbent on every citizen in the interests of community welfare and existence.” –Robert Peel

We have come a long way in providing our police forces with proper equipment and training, and there are currently many tools at their disposal which only a few years ago were absent. Granted, we are still a ways a way from having a bonafide Robocop patrolling our streets keeping us safe. But with the help of technology, police currently have some extremely useful pieces of equipment  which make their jobs easier, safer, and overall more efficient.

With a growing population and an economy that is not necessarily helping matters much, crime is still a big problem in many cities throughout the U.S. We currently are safer walking most streets in the U.S than we have ever been before, but that does not mean police officers don’t have their work cut out for them still. More often police are exposed to more dangers than their predecessors ever imagined. Thankfully, we have equipped many of them with the tools necessary to not only keep themselves safe in the line of duty, but to help keep the citizens they protect safe as well.

Now before we begin, it must be mentioned that these tools provided don’t have to be better weapons, faster cars, or even bullet proof vests. The tools that are being utilized nowadays that create the largest and most meaningful impact are mostly software applications. This may not sound as interesting as a laser pistol or hovering cars, but that is because you probably don’t know what these software application systems offer. And to be honest, these systems can potentially do more than the most powerful weapon or fastest car ever could. To help demystify a bit of this, please read on.

Computer Aided Dispatch (CAD)

It used to be such that police call centers were once operated and managed by physical people. Where operators would have an understanding of where police, fire, and medical response personnel was located. They would also know who exactly and how many personnel were needed to respond to a call. On top of that, they were also aware of where everyone in the field were located in relation to each other, and the areas where calls were coming in.

Beyond that, the police themselves would also have to remember specific areas and the dangers there within. They would have to remember all the people they have helped and dealt with,  whether certain people are violent, involved in drugs, and any other information they can remember. Obviously, any criminal records were recorded, but less important information had to be remembered by officers as there was no master data base to refer to. So if a police officer was dealing with someone new to them, and the operator failed to alert them to certain information, that information would simply be unknown. Things such as mental health, or any history that wasnt recorded from officers who responded there before.

Though, this is no longer the case. Police officers and other emergency response personnel now have Computer Aided Dispatch Systems (CAD). A CAD system when integrated with a Record Management System (RMS) gives police officers in the field all the information they could possibly need. The RMS simply stores all informatino gathered on any person or geographic area, while the CAD system tracks police cruisers in the field, how many police are in certain areas, the number of officers on duty, and how many are needed to respond to a certain call. Essentially, the two combined eliminate any guess work dispatchers would once have to rely on.

With the integration of an RMS, upon arriving on scene, a police officer will know anything any police officer before them found out about a specific person or location. Whether they are on medication, known to be violent, drunk, or even mentally ill. Consider how useful this can be for an officer, when any and all information is at hand for them. It without a doubt makes their jobs easier, more efficient, and most importantly, safer.

This means that if you have ever had a run in with the police for whatever reason, much of what was said, done, and where the incident took place is recorded. Whether you were polite or rude, if the officer found you to be intimidating or submissive, and any other useful information that could later be used to help another officer when dealing with you. This may seem a little Orwellian at first glance, the tracking of said information, but all that information was there already, just never put into one useful area for others to refer to.

Often times, these systems don’t cross over for different counties or regions, but to save money, many cities and towns are beginning to jointly use CAD and RMS systems. It is done to help create a deeper and more diverse system where more information is available. The reasons simply being, criminals don’t stay in the same area forever, and they tend to move around. Which means often times much of their history and characteristics are unknown to officers in other areas dealing with them for the first time.

Graphical Interface System (GIS)

On the surface, a Graphical Interface System seems a lot like Google Maps, but when all the information from the CAD and RMS is added to it in an overlay, it is one of the most useful tools ever devised for public safety. The GIS retrieves the information from the CAD/RMS systems and displays a graphical interface where all the information is portrayed over a map. Areas known to be dangerous where there is gang or drug activity is quickly seen, you can spot where other  emergency response teams and vehicles are located in relation to you, as well as a number of other beneficial uses.

This offers officers in the field a much better understanding of his immediate surroundings, and you can quickly see how useful a system like this can be. Information regarding specific addresses, people, and other useful facts are known. This system quite literally changed how police officers operate in the field. No longer do they have to rely on their “eye in the sky” to tell them what is happening and where they are needed.

As time continues and new technologies are created and implemented, the job of the police officer and any other public servant will become easier, but more importantly, it will become safer. In the end, this is the job of all emergency response and public safety personnel, to protect and serve. And for that they deserve not only our gratitude, but also the best technology we can offer them. Thankfully, there are some great technologies out there with which to help them with, and that comes in the form of CADs and GISs.