The detective, crime and police shows on television make solving crimes look easy. Just gather a few pieces of evidence, then run it through an office computer. Within minutes, you’ll discover your perpetrator.
The reality, however, is that investigations and law enforcement aren’t that simple. A police officer or investigator can take weeks, months or years to match a piece of evidence to a particular person.
This doesn’t mean, though, that real-world technology is lagging behind Hollywood technology. New developments are popping up every day, making crime fighting and prevention easier for law enforcement agencies.
Here are a few technologies that police and other law enforcement personnel can use to do their jobs effectively and make your community a safer place:
This common gadget found in homes is a technology that you can find at a law enforcement agency. Tablets, such as iPads, enable police officers to do nearly anything away from their department desk, making office work possible on the go. Officers, for instance, can run a crisis intervention platform to work with mental health professionals and keep law enforcement units and individuals safe in a behavioral health crisis.
What’s more, law enforcement units can file incident and accident reports wirelessly, as well as look up suspects in a state crime database – all from their undercover police vehicle or a crime scene. Given that officers can spend less time on their desks, they’ll have more availability to patrol the streets actively and prevent crime.
- Automatic License Plate Recognition
The numbers and letters on a car can help law enforcement units determine two things: if the vehicle is marked as “stolen” or if the motorist is on a wanted list. This is possible with the help of an automatic license plate recognition (ALPR) system.
An ALPR system can identify, assess and record the license plate of a vehicle. Then, it processes the letters and numbers against a law enforcement database. The system can alert the police officer if the vehicle is suspicious.
The ALPR technology is highly beneficial for highway patrol units. Officers can identify and apprehend car thieves in less time.
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- Artificial Intelligence
Although society is still years away from having robots protect and serve the public, law enforcement agencies are already using artificial intelligence-based platforms to help them manage and prevent crime.
Many agencies use huge databases with details about a person’s criminal history and background. When they combine these databases with artificial intelligence (AI), they can establish connections with disparate systems more easily. Also, AI can help law enforcement officers make sound decisions concerning punishment, detention and prosecution.
- Thermal Imaging
This technology isn’t just available in the medical world. It has found its way to the crime scene. Thermal imaging enables law enforcement personnel to see a thermal view of their environment, providing a reliable and identifiable “heat picture” of their surroundings.
A thermal imaging technology usually comes as a small, handheld device. Police officers use this gadget to perform search and rescue operations, as well as locate suspects or criminals hiding in a dark room or building.
- Handheld Laser Spectroscopy Devices
No, these handheld lasers aren’t like the ones in Star Wars. Law enforcement units use these spectroscopy devices to figure out the chemical composition of a substance within a matter of seconds. Crime scene investigators who come across a suspicious substance, for example, can use the laser to reveal the object’s chemical makeup.
The main benefit of this technology is that law enforcement personnel won’t have to send the substance they found to a lab for analysis.
- Gunshot Detection Systems
The gunshot detection technology is a system that allows police officers to detect and convey the location of gunfire. It uses sensitive audio sensors positioned around a neighborhood to pick up gunshots and provide law enforcement personnel the exact location.
This locating technology allows police units to respond to gunshot incidents, giving them a leg up in tracking down and apprehending suspects, as well as assisting victims. It also has the potential to make neighborhoods a lot safer, especially in communities that lack patrol officers.
- Robotic Cameras
Law enforcement personnel can’t be in multiple locations at once in a scene of a crime. Also, some situations may be too dangerous for police officers.
This is where robots come into play.
Law enforcement agencies can deploy robots to areas that officers are unable to reach safely. Officers can wirelessly operate and drive a remote-controlled robot equipped a camera into hard-to-reach places or areas that have no clear line of sight. Police units can use this robotic technology to search suspicious homes or detect bombs.
These seven law enforcement technology means that police officers can do way more than just labor over piles of paperwork and make routine traffic stops. These officers can use the latest gadgets to save more lives, apprehend more criminals and further improve public safety.