With the many mass shootings, terrorist attacks, and attacks on police that we’ve seen in the past few years, it’s clear that policing is becoming an ever more difficult and complex job.
In the past, police officers fought crime with a police radio, their weapon, and problem-solving skills. Today, that’s no longer enough. As criminals have gathered on the internet, coordinating like never before, we’ve seen the need for advanced technology grow.
There are plenty of companies working hard on creating new, better policing technologies every day - and some of what is available sounds straight out of a sci-fi movie. Here are 4 police technologies that are changing the state of policing for the better.
Drones have been in the news for their military and recreational use, but they’re also being used more and more by police organizations.
These unmanned aircraft are equipped with cameras that can be connected to a live feed, so that officers on the ground can see everything the camera sees. This has uses in all kinds of situations, from active shooter to missing persons. The video from a drone can also be aggregated with information from multiple other sources, like license plate readers and facial recognition technology, to provide a more complete picture of a crime.
Throwable robotic cameras
These futuristic-looking little robots are tough enough to be thrown into spots where police officers can’t go. Operated by the police officer using a remote control, robotic cameras can explore dangerous or inaccessible crime scenes and relay what they see back to a monitor. Many are equipped with infrared sensors, so they can record even in total darkness.
These cameras have all kinds of applications. They can find suspects at a greater distance, map a building’s layout, identify hostages, or locate contraband.
Situational awareness tech
Situational awareness technology involves aggregating information from security systems, video feeds, license plate readers, and other technology to enable police to respond to incidents in a more prepared manner. The data from the various systems is then pulled together and made accessible in one single interface.
For example, take a look at the Verint Situation Management system, Verint SMC. This software solution integrates a huge array of sources, including:
Using situational awareness technology like the SMC can affect entire cities. When this system is used in conjunction with devices like smart streetlights, ShotSpotter technology, and mass notification, it can help city managers, police officers, and others run cities more safely and efficiently.
Synchronized body cameras
Body cameras have been in use for several years, but new technology is making them more effective than ever.
A new product called WatchGuard Video syncs an in-car camera and police officers’ body cameras, allowing officers to record video from multiple vantage points. What’s more, the cameras are all aware of each other - when one starts recording, the others start recording, too.
This way, if one officer forgets to press record or doesn’t know he or she needs to be recording, an officer’s partner can initiate the recording process from either the car or a body camera.
Once video is recorded, the files from each of the synced cameras is uploaded to a database and linked together, making it easy to find all video from a single incident.
This could have major impact on cases in which there’s a question of whether an officer acted correctly, or whether someone was armed. This kind of video recording could help answer those questions more definitively.
Policing is a difficult job, but technology is helping make our police officers and citizen safer. For more on how technology is changing public life, read our post The Importance of Public Safety Technology for Public Spaces.