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What is Law Enforcement Technology?

By Vanessa Harvey
Updated May 16, 2024
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Law enforcement technology refers to computer programs, equipment and weaponry that is technologically advanced and used by law enforcement personnel. Such people might include police officers, sheriffs, members of the U.S. National Guard and wardens at correctional facilities. Computer programs include police software for the automated creation and management of various records kept by law enforcement agencies. For example, there are numerous data entry procedures required when someone is incarcerated for the first time.

Correctional facilities must maintain information such as medical records and visitation restrictions on every resident. Some cases involve obtaining records from multiple sources to create a complete profile. Law enforcement technology emphasizes the cross-referencing of data for the purpose of tracking someone regardless of what region he or she is from or where he or she travels. This centralization allows law enforcement officers to have rapid access to a suspect's complete criminal background. Centralization also permits instant updates and the sharing of data between officers in distant regions.

If a convicted criminal escapes from a correctional facility in one region, he might be apprehended by authorities in another. The facility from which he escaped, however, can be instantly notified using software that law enforcement technology has developed. Voiceless dispatch, enhanced emergency services activation systems and the tracking of police officer activity are all possible via law enforcement technology. Police officers can report their dispatch status as they arrive on the scene with the click of a mouse using a laptop computer in their vehicle. Law enforcement agencies can track police officer activities, and telephone calls to Emergency Medical Services (EMS) systems can be tracked to a physical location.

The advances of law enforcement technology also have led to the creation of New Age weapons, among which are "pain ray" guns. These guns are designed to use microwaves or laser beams that heat up the surface of the skin of an attacker or people in a crowd. They are developed to control a violent or potentially dangerous individual or a large crowd of people that is behaving in an unruly manner. Such guns might be placed in the hands of police officers in the United States.

Diversionary devices are another contribution of law enforcement technology that is used primarily by officers who must enter into buildings by force. The device is thrown into the building as close to the suspect as possible. It produces blinding flashes of light and deafening sounds to render him or her incapable of violence or resistance. This allows law enforcement officers to move in as safely as possible.

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