The budget burden

It’s the 200-pound brute cohabitating every police management office across the states: the budget gorilla. This year’s roundtable proves that some curse words have more than four letters, and the big one of these last years, and according to the...

Kiederlen: I think one of my favorites, and I’m going to make sure we’re going to get it (we have received a grant to purchase one and we’re in that process), is the LiveScan fingerprint technology. I think that’s pretty amazing. With fingerprint submittal, there’s always such a high return rate of unusable prints. With that technology it’s almost impossible to submit a bad print. Additionally, the ability to quickly identify individuals that either you don’t know the name of, they’re unknown people in the case of deceased individuals and stuff like that, to be able to submit those fingerprints and get responses on such a rapid basis is just amazing.

Twombly: I would say the implementation or the deployment of Tasers, And that’s just been over the past roughly 5 years that they’ve come out. Because for the most part, the technology hasn’t really changed . Video: and that’s probably the last 10 years really in the late ‘90s video hit, at least in our agency, and we started to place it in the mid-90s – well, ’93-’94 we started putting those things in our vehicles.

                As far as from a technology side, I would also say the information management systems as far as the ability to integrate the dispatch information with the records systems to allow street officers the ability to access that information out in the field, that would be a big one too. Rather than having to wait to go to the precinct or to go up to the main office to check records and get copies of reports and that. Now they have the ability to do that from the squad,  which really helps if they are investigating incidents for background information or even trying to identify people that they are in contact with. They can pull up mug shots and things so they can immediately, or relatively immediately identify someone. I would say that’s probably No. 1, followed by Tasers and video.

Yaniero: Perhaps the most important change introduced during my 30 years in law enforcement is the computer and computer systems. As a police administrator, I have frequently looked to computer technology as a method for enhancing the effectiveness of police officers. As a proponent of the efficient practice of community policing, I believe that the use of high-technology equipment and applications is essential when addressing budget constraints in an environment requiring a high demand for service. Without effective technology, police officers would find it difficult to provide the level and quality of services that the community deserves. Technological tools such as Computer-Aided Dispatch, mobile computers in vehicles, digital cameras, and automatic fingerprint systems provide effective support to police officers on the street. These tools also improve police officer efficiency with the overall goal of improving the quality of life for all the citizens they serve. In my experience, the use of pertinent technology results in quality improvements, an increase in efficiency and a decrease in costs. Service costs decrease because of fewer errors. Delays are less frequent, with an improvement in the management of time and equipment. This improved effectiveness and productivity result in safer communities for the citizens we serve.

In the coming year, (5 years, 10 years) what do you see as the biggest obstacles or barriers to the industry?

Twombly: Right now, my biggest challenges we’ll run in to it will be with budgeting. As an example, replacement of our new squads. Just equipment and maintenance, budget lines, those really have never been fully funded in our agency and due to the way our county does budgeting, but it’s always tight. I see in the next year, that’s not going to get any better. And as far as we could use additional staff, but that’s also not going to happen with the current budget, so we’re just going to have to continue to again look for more efficient ways of doing business and with the resources we’ve got.

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