Today, technological innovations are constantly filtering into our day to day lives - and this shows no sign of stopping as we head deeper into the digital age. In the world of law enforcement, the latest technology is already being seamlessly integrated by police departments all over the world. Here’s just some of the ground-breaking technology set to make the lives of criminals a whole lot harder.
Eyes in the sky
Flying robotic drones are one of the more controversial pieces of technology that have found their way into the kit bags of today's police officers. These remotely controlled aircrafts are equipped with cameras officers can use to get a bird’s eye view of a crime scene - and provide aerial tactical support during special operations. A hostage situation is one of the proposed uses for drones - where it could be dangerous for officers to get close to the crime scene, a drone could send real-time information to commanders on the ground.
There are many potential uses for drones, in fact - they could capture video and images of crimes as they occur, providing crucial evidence during court proceedings, or even track vehicles fleeing from a crime scene. The possibilities are pretty much endless - but not everyone is a fan of these flying cameras. Critics argue that they could allow police to improperly spy on civilians and shred personal privacy. Despite these arguments, there’s no doubt that drones will play some part in the future of police operations.
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The development of augmented reality technology such as Google Glass has opened up a world of possibilities for law enforcement. Imagine a heads-up display that analyzes everything an officer sees - including businesses, homes, cars and even people. Facial recognition technology could soon provide real-time information on people an officer passes, flagging up anyone with an outstanding warrant - meaning patrols will soon become a lot more efficient and effective.
Although facial recognition software is not currently available as a feature in the first generation of Google Glass, the technology is readily available and augmented reality is being field tested by various police departments across the US. It won’t be long before we see police officers using Google’s hi-tech goggles in the line of duty.
The use of biometrics is not a new mobile app development in the world of law enforcement - with fingerprints being used for years as a means of identifying criminals. However, what was once a tedious, time-consuming and messy task has now been revolutionised by handheld scanners which allow officers to instantly identify individuals with a criminal past. What once took weeks is becoming easy and instantaneous.
Rapid DNA analysis technology is another new biometric innovation that could allow police to trace suspects within hours of reaching the crime scene - rather than days. The equipment is around the size of a photocopier and can therefore be transported to a crime scene, where it will compare DNA samples with a national database. It currently takes approximately 2-3 weeks to analyse a DNA sample, so this is a welcome innovation that could save time and resources.
Technology will only continue to advance and evolve - and there’s no doubt that it will play an increasingly important role in law enforcement. With proper use and respect for old-fashioned policing methods, technological innovations will allow law enforcement officers to improve their ability to serve and protect communities.
Tegan Denwood is a technology blogger for Reveal Media USA, providing police departments throughout the US with powerful and protective body worn video solutions.