Community policing may benefit from technology use
Positive engagement with the local community is a priority for all police departments. Improving positive contacts with residents and reducing the kind of net-fishing expeditions that can result in excessive rubs of law-abiding citizens are beneficial goals not only because they improve a department's standing in the community, but also due to more effective and targeted policing. This approach leads to better resource allocation in terms of officers and physical assets and can help cut down on problematic expenditures like overtime and intensive hiring drives.
The technological options available to modern police forces are impressive in terms of processing power, ease of access and ability to share information, especially as compared to systems used 20 or even 10 years ago. The national discussion as of late has revolved around body cameras, which provide unbiased evidence for use in court and have been shown in a number of studies to positively influence the behavior of both officers and the people they interact with. News site NJ.com also pointed out that, based on research from the Police Foundation, cameras also cause a significant drop in citizen complaints made against departments. The potential for positive use of technology is strong, but the addition of a discrete piece of hardware to an officer's duty kit, such as a body camera, won't create instantaneous improvement to efficiency.
Emphasizing proper use
PBS's Frontline program recently discussed the current attention on body cameras, hosting a discussion with representatives from risk management consultants and police organizations. Malik Aziz, a representative for the National Black Police Association, advocated for community involvement to be incorporated with technological advances.
"I think we [need] more body cameras, more in-car cameras, more technology, but it has to be accountable," Aziz told Frontline. "And the resources have to be deployed responsibly."
A system to allocate resources and promote productive involvement
Individual pieces of hardware like body cameras certainly offer their advantages, but they don't provide a comprehensive system for information sharing or promoting more efficient community interactions. NC4 Street Smart provides the structure for sharing information as soon as it happens and maintaining permanent records of important information directly from the source, instead of passing through hierarchical and sometimes ephemeral levels before reaching officers on patrol. While no technology will succeed without officer involvement, NC4 Street Smart is a tool that provides benefits across an organization, in terms of both crime control and community involvement.
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