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Future of policing technology lies in protecting law enforcement officers

Rabihah Butler  Manager for Enterprise content for Risk, Fraud & Government / Thomson Reuters Institute

· 6 minute read

Rabihah Butler  Manager for Enterprise content for Risk, Fraud & Government / Thomson Reuters Institute

· 6 minute read

Continued public safety requires law enforcement officers to have all the tools to do their job, including the use and understanding of modern technology to better increase security and protection for the officers and the community

Nothing about the profession chosen by law enforcement officers is routine. They work daily to solve crimes, protect citizens, and keep the peace. They put their lives on the line to make sure that everyone feels secure and can go about their daily life with comfort in knowing that law enforcement is available to protect and serve the community.

In a modern society, it is important to acknowledge the difficult job that law enforcement officers have; and as a part of that acknowledgement, it is important to properly equip officers so they can best face their challenges.

There are new ways to train

Law enforcement officers’ duties include more than giving traffic tickets and arresting bad guys; indeed, the current climate in most places requires that officers to take up the mantle of community enforcement. They are tasked with responding to issues involving violence, mental health issues, financial crimes, and much more — and this expansive list of issues can help explain why training is incredibly important.

While being physically fit and knowing how to use weapons are two of the biggest skill requirements in law enforcement, there are new skills that officers need now, especially to ensure officer and community safety. As officers’ jobs becomes more complex, the training will also need to be more thorough.

For example, in some jurisdictions, officer training would include the use of virtual reality programs to teach de-escalation and critical thinking. Use of newer technology in training can help to prepare officers for real situations in the field. Moreover, this type of technology-empowered training has several benefits, including:

      • The cost is minimized — Training professionals can teach a large number of officers in a single session as there are no constraints to the number of trainees
      • The training is consistent — Training uses the same information in all sessions, allowing for consistent standards and implementation
      • The scheduling becomes easier — It is easier to hire trainers as it is no longer contingent on coordinating competing schedules, allowing for the use of the best trainer possible
      • Training becomes more efficient — This type of training more efficiently uses the officers time by removing the obligation to travel for training and allows officers to do training and updates regularly. This means that officers, no matter what shifts they’re covering, would be able to participate with relative ease

There are new ways to deal with old crimes

Law enforcement officer also need to deal with traditional types of crimes in a more advanced way. For example, in instances in which property is stolen or lives are in danger, it is important to use all available technology to help officers locate missing or endangered people and property. This would include use of tactics like issuing Amber alerts, or leveraging the use of sensory activated video, GPS, and digital billboards, among other tools. In addition to these options, police need to be able to immediately communicate with one another.

New technology, such as public-facing apps, are rapidly developing to get more information out to the proper audience. Further, the use of new tools can be supplemented with cloud-based storage, making the evidence available for use immediately and preserving it for later prosecution.

The updates in information dissemination will serve to advance the cause of protecting people and their property, because the more information that is available, the safer officers and the community can be.

There are new crimes to address

As advanced technology evolves, so do tech-enabled crimes, which in turn can lead to more modern crimes. As technologies advance the manual creation of fake IDs, for example, we see this leading to a surge in the creation of full synthetic identities. While both crimes involve assuming a false identity, the implications are very different — and officers need to be able to ascertain when and how false information is being used. And while the use of fake IDs can be tracked using scanning technology, the use of a synthetic identity requires a much more detailed investigation and has far reaching impacts in areas of money laundering and bank fraud.

As generative artificial intelligence (GenAI) and other technologies advance, it becomes important for officers to have access to and training on GenAI today. Indeed, given the pace of advancing technology being used by criminals, officers have to be prepared to understand all the new technologies and how some of them are being used illicitly and which technologies can best aid their police work.

Some of the technologies that officers should be on the lookout for include:

      • Digital forensic software — These tools aid in the preservation and recovery of information collected
      • Information-sharing technology — These tools help officers share information in real-time that can help solve crimes and prepare them for dangerous situations
      • Information storage systems — These tools are critical in preparing to prosecute criminals after officers have done the work to build cases and collect evidence
      • Virtual reality training — These tools allow officers to train virtually on nearly any subject or core competency area
      • Facial and voice recognition — Another advanced identity protection tool that allows users to keep their data safe or help officers during their investigations
      • Sensory activated video — These programs collect evidence even when there are no officers around and aid in the investigation of serious crimes
      • Thermal imaging — These tools provide critical information to officers as they enter into unknown places, helping to keep them safe
      • Smart cruisers — These police cruisers are essentially an office on wheels that allows an officer to perform are peak efficiency with all the tools necessary to safely perform their duties
      • Automatic license plate recognition — These programs allow tracking of vehicles, which can then cut the time in situations in which it is important to locate vehicles to preserve property or life
      • Drones — These can allow surveillance of an area to ensure safety before officers’ lives at put at risk in dangerous situations


Law enforcement officers serve and protect. In order to do so, however, they need to have proper training and keep their finger on the pulse of the latest technology. From training to daily actions, officers need access to advanced technology in order to provide the best solutions and better ensure their own safety and that of the public.

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