Technological advances are improving law enforcement officers’ ability to combat crime. From robots and drones to biometrics, advances in technology are helping detectives and police officers apprehend, identify, and track criminals more accurately. Critics lament that these tools can be abused and increase police officers’ authority. Advocates of the technology argue that the technical tools are instrumental in solving and preventing crimes more thoroughly. Police officers and other law enforcement personnel increasingly rely on the following:
Remote-controlled robots equipped with cameras can be utilized to enter dangerous buildings and inaccessible areas for surveillance. These robots can detect bombs and provide real-time information regarding crimes in progress. Police can use the information to plan their responses and identify criminals without risk of injury or death.
Similar to robots, drones with cameras are increasingly utilized to monitor activity remotely. Police can send drones to areas where suspected crimes are occurring to watch for criminal activity. They can provide an aerial view to gain vital information on individuals conducting crimes and follow them to their hideouts without their knowledge. The crucial information can be gleaned from the safety of the police station where an appropriate plan and response can be created with minimal disruption to public safety.
Police have always relied on fingerprints taken from the scene of a crime in their investigations. However, the advances in biometrics now include retinal scans and DNA analysis to identify individuals more accurately. Due to technological advances, police officers can instantly identify criminals.
Data collection has become a great source for law enforcement as data is constantly generated from various sources. Data from video surveillance, cellular communications, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and other sources is compiled and used to track crime and identify suspects. GPS data can be used to pinpoint locations of calls. DNA, fingerprints, retinal scans, and facial recognition technology are stored in databases utilized by law enforcement officers to identify suspects quickly so that they can be apprehended before further harm occurs.
Another great source of information is the scouring of social media sites for further information on an individual’s activity. Most individuals have a social media presence in which they voluntarily post information about their whereabouts, activities, photos, and videos that offer several clues to investigators.
Police cars are equipped with scanners that read license plates and tags. These scanners can alert officers of stolen vehicles and provide instant analysis on the vehicle and its owners.
Body cameras and cameras mounted to police vehicles increase police accountability. Video from these cameras can be used to monitor and safeguard police brutality. Due to the recording of police behavior, police officers can be held more accountable and build credibility in their communities.
The attorneys at MacMain, Connell & Leinhauser have considerable experience defending local, county, and state law enforcement agencies. For an initial consultation on police officer-related matters, contact us online or call us at 484-318-7106. We represent clients throughout Chester County and Philadelphia, as well as in New Jersey from our office located in West Chester, Pennsylvania.