The 2016 Law Enforcement Survey Results are in. What did we learn?
Better policing relies on technology innovation that improves community relations.
We learned that you are looking to connect with the community in new ways to better fight crime. And, you want to leverage existing data, new multi-media sources of information and smart devices to do so.
In helping to deter crime and protect the community, survey respondents acknowledged an understanding of the value of data collected from answering thousands of emergency calls and text messages, body-worn cameras, surveillance cameras and records systems. By equipping officers with the most necessary information from the start of an incident, better judgment can be applied when making decisions, citizen engagement improved and ultimately lives saved.
Respondents also acknowledged needing additional tools like 311 call-taking systems, social media feeds, citizen tip lines and community available crime reports to create a two-way dialogue with citizens about activities in their community and reduce the need to fulfill individual requests.
During an incident, the requirement to access data continues to rise, year-over-year. In fact, Chiefs (78%), Captains (83%) and Patrol Officers (70%) exhibited a higher demand for always available data. Not unexpectedly, video in particular is still soaring in popularity with 90% of law enforcement agencies using video. Having extra “eyes”, or a virtual cop, on the street allows officers to react more quickly, identify perpetrators, gain valuable evidence, and close cases with more visual context making the community and officers safer.
These findings also led us to a new and telling conclusion. As law enforcement personnel exchange more and new information with peers, command staff, neighboring agencies and citizens, they need to do it effectively, but it is not a one size fits all approach. For peers it may mean a quick text, for citizens a phone call. It all comes down to building relationships and leveraging the right tools to quickly build situational awareness around an incident or assure citizens you are being transparent. This has translated in a booming desire for additional smart devices and mobile applications to supplement traditional means of communication.
The key to success in implementing these new technologies was also resoundingly apparent from the survey. To meet these new needs people must be able to work together seamlessly, across networks, devices and applications so agencies and citizens can benefit.
To learn more about how we’re helping agencies put it all together, join me as I kick off our 2017 Smart Public Safety Webinar Series where throughout the year we will explore the different facets of public safety operations and how new technologies can work together to help you improve community relations.
Author: Colonel James M. Wolfinbarger (Ret.) is Public Safety Industry Expert