Technology and Policing
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The paper investigates the influence of modern technologies on policing in the United States. According to the results of the research, first of all, it is necessary to create a unique database that may be accessed from different operative systems. It will allow police officers to obtain the required information in the shortest time possible. Secondly, it is possible to introduce new devices that may ease the work of law enforcers. Thirdly, it is necessary to understand that the simultaneous driving and use of new technologies may cause hazardous situations on the roads.
The research has shown that the actuality of the technologies in the police is essential for the efficient struggle with the representatives of criminality, who adopt the newest technological achievements. The law-enforcement agencies have to apply the latest developments in order to be able to cope with the threats that face the civil population and may be hazardous to the stability of the country.
Keywords: police, policing, technology, inventions, accidents, law-enforcement agencies.
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In modern society, due to the rapid increase in the number of terroristic attacks, the profession of a police officer is one of the most important ones. There always exists a need to keep the social order and to enforce the law. At the same time, one cannot imagine a modern global society without informational and communicational technologies. The achievements of technological progress are used not only by the law-abiding population but also by the representatives of criminality. The government of the country understands the need for the broad integration of technical tools in order to improve the efficiency of any branch of the federal authority. The required reforms in the police presuppose the implementation of new technologies in the everyday activity of law-enforcement agencies. Now, police representatives are obliged to use in their work the latest achievements in terms of science and technology together with the modern informational and communicational system.
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The Need for the Improvement of Technological Sphere in Law-Enforcement Agencies
Up to recent times, the implementation of new technologies was not done on a regular basis and sometimes the informational systems could not be synchronized with each other. Over the past years, law-enforcement agencies of the country have carried out much work for the development of the informational infrastructure. A unique informational and communicational system has been created; it is based on the infrastructure. In addition, law-enforcement agencies all over the country have been provided with basic technical and communicational equipment.
In fact, the information that is used by a certain police department is also required in other structures. However, it used to be complicated to receive it due to the incompatibility of formats. Lindsay, Cooke, and Jackson (2009) state that in order to provide the officers of law-enforcement agencies with the opportunity to use different informational systems, there was a need to install several computers at the same working place. Thus, now, one of the most important tasks is the synchronization of all information systems and formats.
Koper, Lum, and Willis (2014) assert that the creation of a unique informational system is not a simple task. Sometimes it is necessary to conduct the integration of existing systems; in the other case, it may be needed to replace the current product with a new one. However, it is also crucial not to abolish the old developments that still may be used. At the same time, the implementation of information technologies requires large-scale investments from the government.
One more reason for the synchronization process is that the systems were created without taking into consideration the modern tendencies. Therefore, launching such systems meant the installation of them directly at the working place, as well as servers of local networks, together with the creation of separate centers for data processing both at the territorial and regional levels. The whole process defined a high price of servicing and limited productivity. The article “Police Information Technology: Assessing the Effects of Computerization on Urban Police Functions” (2001) states that with the creation of a single system, it is possible to improve the performance of law-enforcement agencies due to the reduction of time and efforts necessary for information processing.
One of the technologies that may improve the work of the police is the implementation of the project that allows finding the location of a person, who has attempted to get in touch with the police. This innovation requires several amendments to the existing legislature. According to the article, “Police Technology in Cities: Changes and Challenges” (2001), this technology does not only allow officers to shorten the time for processing the call and helping people in an urgent situation but also to reduce the number of false alarms. Another addition to the project is the ability to send the photo and video materials to the police with the help of such social resources as Whatsapp and Facebook. This option is helpful when it is necessary to have a complete picture of the crime and not to miss any important details.
Another innovation is the implementation of slow-speed sirens. The loud sirens of police vehicles may go to the past soon. The reason for the application of such systems is that drivers sometimes are unable to hear the old ones due to the loud music inside their cars or specific health problems. Some police vehicles are already equipped with the combination of the old and the new sirens. Their radius of activity is about one hundred meters; thus, they are unable to disturb the majority of the civil population. The driver of the traced car may feel the vibration with the skin, so there is no need to resort to making a loud noise.
Another useful feature is the installation of invisible radars. It is fixed to the license plate that may be removed if needed. In such a case, the computer traces all data concerning the speed of cars in the oncoming traffic that moves with the violation of the speed norms. With the appearance of hidden radars, drivers have to be particularly careful.
Another method is the adoption of smart police cars that are equipped with a powerful computer and system of tracking. In the process of movement, it scans the license plates of cars and receives a signal if any of them is stolen or its owner is on the wanted list. The computer saves information about everything that takes place around the car and recognizes the license plates of all vehicles that pass by. In addition, the police car may investigate the level of chemical and radiation pollution caused by other vehicles.
Another technology is the implementation of the StarChase system. This device is fixed under the radiator of a police car, and with the help of the airpower, it may hit the tracked vehicle with a small GPS tracker. Even if it escapes, the police will find it again with no difficulty. The system allows the police representatives to avoid dangerous chasing and high expenditures on such operations.
One more method to improve security on the roads is the implementation of message radars. These devices allow the police to stop the driver, who is distracted by texting. The device tracks the frequency that is produced by cell phones when sending a text message. The prohibition of this activity while driving may cause the reduction of accidents, in particular among young drivers.
Another interesting method is the installation of a ball-like camera that may help a police officer to investigate dangerous or inaccessible for people objects. The camera is protected with rubber and may be thrown to any remote places. It can make photos at a 360 degrees’ angle and to paste them into a single panoramic file before sending them to the user’s smartphone. This solution may be helpful in the case when the special mission units have to check the positions of terrorists, when a rescue team has to find people under ruined houses, or when liquidators of catastrophes have to find places of a chemical leak.
One more technology that may have a positive influence on society’s security is the device that allows defining the content of the air. It can identify the substance of any type. This tool may help the police to detect explosives or drug consumption by a person. The technology is still being tested, but it is expected to appear in the market in the nearest future.
One more technology is a soundless motorcycle that is designed for carrying out intelligence operations. Its engine can work with different types of fuels. Due to the usage of electric power, the vehicle is able to move almost soundlessly. The regular engine may be used for carrying out ordinary combat tasks while the electric one should be utilized only in intelligence operations. The absence of burnt products allows making the motorcycle less visible in the infrared spectrum. The ordinary engine may be taken off and replaced with any useful luggage or equipment that is required for a certain mission. This feature also allows officers to reduce the weight of the vehicle and increase its speed and productivity.
The Negative Influence of New Technologies on the Police Representatives
At the same time, modern technologies may cause harm to a person that uses it. Manning (1996) states that some time ago, the portable radio stations occupied much space, but the police officers could use them for communication without being distracted from the road. The modernization of the law enforcement agencies skipped one important moment: when an officer is alone in the car, he or she has to look at the computer console for typing the number of a car that violated the rules. This distraction may be dangerous for the lives of police officers. Such accidents may also take the lives of the civil population. Nowadays, it is important for newcomers to pass a driving course that teaches the implementation of modern technologies, among other things. At such moments, it may be necessary to use the computer; thus, the police officers have to do it in the most secure manner.
Legal Issues Concerning the Implementation of New Technologies
Custers (2012) states that it is also necessary to take into consideration that the police officer has the right for using physical force, technical means, and firearms personally or while being a part of a department in the cases that are mentioned in the federal law. In the situation of the necessary self-defense, police representatives may apply any technical means that are allowed by the government. An officer has to pass special training and take regular tests that prove the permission to participate in the activity that may require the use of physical force, as well as the application of physical and technological means and firearms. The command of full force when implementing technical means or firearms makes a police officer responsible for the case. A police representative is not liable for the harm caused to citizens and organizations if the implementation of technical means was based on the norms of the federal law.
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Under the influence of information on all spheres of modern life of the society, the efficiency of work of the law enforcers majorly depends on the actuality of their knowledge of informational technologies and the ability to use new technological developments. Unfortunately, the qualification of the representatives of criminality is constantly increasing, as well. At the same time, the problem may be solved with the implementation of informational technologies in the process of educating police officers. Such technologies allow improving crime control and reducing the number of accidents. However, the police representatives are to be taught how to use such devices and simultaneously drive a car.