Force Multiplier: Police Seek Effective Uses of Technology

Localities can achieve effective levels of public safety through the selective use of technology. But which technologies are having the biggest impact and why?

by / September 22, 2014

There are more than 14,000 local law enforcement agencies in the U.S., employing more than 760,000 officers (and an additional 285,000 civilians), according to the latest FBI statistics. The U.S. spends approximately $100 billion on law enforcement, most of which goes toward paying for officers who are on the front line against crime. When the Great Recession hit, law enforcement agencies tightened their belts, but few departments faced layoffs. That changed as fiscal problems went from bad to worse. In 2010, nearly 78 percent of police departments suffered staffing cutbacks, according to a survey by the Police Executive Research Forum. Purchases of technology fared poorly as well.

As the effects of the recession recede and budgets begin to slowly increase, cities and counties are starting to see that they can achieve effective levels of public safety through the selective use of technology. But which technologies are having the biggest impact and why?

This special report, divided into six sections, highlights trends in specific areas of policing technology, how they are helping, and what needs to be done to ensure they are beneficial. The final section takes a look at the future trends in policing technology as the nation’s law enforcement agencies deal with uncertainties that lie ahead.

Section I: Wearable Cameras

Section II: Predictive Policing

Section III: Cloud Computing

Section IV: Social Media

Section V: Crime-Fighting Civic Apps

Section VI: The Future of Policing & Technology

Tod Newcombe Senior Editor

With more than 20 years of experience covering state and local government, Tod previously was the editor of Public CIO, e.Republic’s award-winning publication for information technology executives in the public sector. He is now a senior editor for Government Technology and a columnist at Governing magazine.

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