The 10 and 10,000-foot views

Three police managers offer their insight on the year at hand in the 2010 roundtable

What problems would you like to see addressed in terms of equipment?

   Kiederlen: I'd like to see more less-lethal technologies. I think things like the Tasers are nice, but they're cost-prohibitive. So some competition there would be nice. I'd like to see ... something [that] can reach out a little further than 25 to 30 feet.

   Right now we have the mobile computers in cars; I'd like to see a less expensive technology that reduces the size of those things and in some way integrates it more into the vehicle. So many vehicles now have those LCD displays in them already that being able to utilize something like that I think would be really innovative.

   Twombly: I see training as becoming an issue. Departments, including our own, are being forced to reduce our budget and there are very few lines we really can control. Personnel costs usually make up 90 to 92 percent of most budgets for most agencies. Short of laying people off, you can't control that huge chunk ... of your budget. I'm seeing training budgets decrease and the problem and fear that I have with that is in this profession, in order to stay confident in not only the legal changes and legal updates, but also the physical skills that we have to utilize [like] defensive driving, high-speed pursuit driving, firearms training, defensive tactics.

   When you cut back training, you really impair the officers from staying proficient in those skills. If they're placed in a critical situation, or an emergency situation, they aren't going to be as prepared and ... that increases the chances of them making mistakes.

   Even though shocking somebody with 50,000 volts or hitting them with a projectile that doesn't penetrate their body ... is better than trying to wrestle with somebody and breaking bones and causing internal injuries over a larger area, trying to develop less-than-lethal weaponry that is much more effective at neutralizing the suspect without hurting them or causing permanent injury still needs to be refined a little more.

    We're still getting a lot of officers that are shot and killed because the vests that we wear ... don't cover enough of our vital organs. The trade off is that it's so cumbersome, [I'd like to see] if they can continue to try to develop anti-ballistic material that would be much more comfortable to wear. The ultimate to me would be making an entire shirt out of it, where you didn't have side panels, where the front and back panels meet and [don't] have gaps.

   Yaniero: One of the most controversial topics in law enforcement today is the use of force. The balance of police authority and the credibility of police within a community are achieved when the police and community are woven together into the same thread. Nothing is as damaging to the relationship between a law enforcement agency and the community as an incident in which the use of force has not been clearly justified. The development of less-than-lethal weapons, such as the Taser, has resulted in a reduction of injuries to police officers and suspects, while reducing the overall need to use force. However, this technology has risks. I believe that this type of technology, in conjunction with focused training, should reduce the risks of improper use of force, injuries to police officers and suspects and the resulting damage to the police/community relations that result from a controversial incident.

What was the most innovative or most exciting product introduced in your career?

   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.

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