Future Law Enforcement Technological Tools

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  • 0:00 Law Enforcement and Technology
  • 0:38 Crime Scene Investigation
  • 2:25 Community Support and Safety
  • 4:14 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

What does the future of law enforcement look like? From GIS devices to translation software, new technological tools are changing how police and other law enforcement agencies do their jobs. Explore some of these tools, and test your understanding with a brief quiz.

Law Enforcement and Technology

Since the dawn of law enforcement, officers have relied on technology to help them do their jobs. Whatever the latest, most advanced technology was, it was put in service of law enforcement, helping police officers and detectives identify clues, apprehend suspects, and promote overall community safety. Now, we could talk about the history of law enforcement of technology. But, let's go the other direction: to the future. What does the future hold for law enforcement? We only need to look to the newest technologies to find out.

Crime Scene Investigation

So this is the future. Sweet! Even by 2015, new technological tools are being developed that can make this future a reality. Many of these relate to crime scene investigation, or the search for clues at crime scenes, and several should be available within a decade or less. Such as those. Those are flashlights, but each of them give off light of a different wavelength. Different wavelengths illuminate hairs, fibers, blood, or other elements. That works well with these laser-based tools, which can identify the chemical compositions of substances just by pointing. Within seconds, these tools can tell officers what mysterious powders or liquids are made of. Together, these various tools help officers process crime scenes faster and can reveal clues or dangers that they may otherwise have missed.

See what else they're doing? By using geographic information system, or GIS, software, investigators use satellite imaging to create 3-dimensional maps of the crime scenes. Not only does this help reveal patterns in a single crime scene, but it can reveal patterns in various crime scenes over hundreds of miles - patterns that may not have been obvious without computer mapping. As of 2015, this is one technological tool that is already having a major impact on law enforcement. The use of GIS is just starting to take off, and within 5-10 years, this technology could redefine how police conduct investigations. Say you want to look at the dispersion of glass in an area with broken windows, or the relationship between crime scenes with similar elements in different parts of the country. GIS mapping is already being used to some degree, but as the technology continues advancing into the future, the potential uses just keep growing.

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