7 Ways Law Enforcement Should Use Tech
April 27, 2021 by
The image of the lone gumshoe detective investigating crime with nothing but his wits is popular in fiction. In reality, however, the use of sophisticated technology is a critical part not only of criminal investigations but of the entire criminal justice process. Here are seven ways law enforcement agencies leverage innovative technology to improve operations and achieve better outcomes in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting crime.
- To fight modern crime, you need modernized investigative solutions.
Most criminals today utilize social media and innovative IT solutions, so for law enforcement to truly be able to combat modern crimes, you need modern innovative systems such as case management, reporting, and analysis platforms. Criminal investigators must be aware of ongoing trends with IT and think outside of the box because that is what the criminals are doing — they are thinking of new ways to defraud people every day. It is imperative for law enforcement to embrace technology.
- Integrated solutions support collaboration across the investigative landscape.
Connecting first responders to investigators, the investigators to judicial branch, the judicial branch to the correctional side of the house — you would be surprised at how much information you can get when everyone is talking to one another. It is imperative there is true collaboration with all players involved. The “bad guys” are sharing their ideas and strategies, so law enforcement should be doing the same thing. It is all about information cross-feed: the need to share access to information and simplify processes using common sense.
- Internal tracking of investigative activity leads to better outcomes.
When first responders, investigators, and attorneys are all working together and sharing correct information, the judicial branch will have a better outcome in the way they do business. Innovative technology makes it easier for them to do what they need to do in the courts in order to prosecute criminals, getting them off the streets and into correctional facilities where they can be rehabilitated and get their lives changed.
- Law enforcement reporting and analytics lead to better insights.
In any investigation, reporting and analytics are crucial. There is no room in law enforcement to allow information to slip through the cracks as this may lead to outcomes that could be fatal. This is why the FBI has instituted NIBRS (National Incident Based Reporting System), which requires law enforcement to provide specific fields of information which is then reported to the Department of Justice. This comprehensive source of criminal data supports trend analysis and monitoring of certain criminal activities. It also helps to alert authorities if a specific crime occurs — for example, if an unauthorized person tries to buy weapons of any kind. Better insights lead to better decisions and better policing.
- Informant tracking solutions streamline informant interactions.
Knowledge is power. Law enforcement cannot be successful without information. Automated informant tracking is important so investigators can have pertinent information at their fingertips. It is useful for law enforcement to be able to analyze what the informants like and dislike in order to strategize how to best utilize, verify, and catalogue the information informants can provide in court. It is also crucial to capture information accurately on a secure system to keep everything confidential.
- Mobile case management empowers the field operator.
Mobile case management capabilities empower operatives in the field. Imagine having a mobile device which allows law enforcement to capture all the information, which they can then upload to a government system — and now imagine them having that level of access in a covert operation. Having the mobile capability to equip those in the field to capture information that can be logged in, annotated, and leave an audit trail allows law enforcement and investigators to capture the critical information they need for the investigations they are running.
- Tracking law enforcement officials’ training and behavior enables accountability.
It is important for law enforcement managers to have the ability to track the training and behaviors of individuals on their team, in order to find out where the bad apples are so they can nullify problem behaviors before issues arise. Law enforcement agencies need to be able to provide solutions including proper training and counseling to prevent bad things from happening. It is all about saving lives and saving law enforcement as it influences the entire community. Agencies can leverage technology to track when things like weapons training or sensitivity training is needed for a team member. The idea of innovation is to use technology for law enforcement to do their job more effectively and more efficiently.
To be most effective, law enforcement agencies must embrace all of the tools that are available to them. Embracing innovative technology will allow them to use their experience and instincts even better to act effectively to keep communities safe.
Skip Bland, Tyler business development executive, has more than 30 years of military security, law enforcement, and counterintelligence experience.