As times change, so do approaches to policing. Since the days of handheld radios the size of bricks, handwritten reports and bulging metal file cabinets housing manila case file folders, modern law enforcement has gone digital, biometric and analytical. This isn’t your daddy’s policing anymore.
And these changes are good things, say people like Dale Peet, a former head of the Michigan State Police Intelligence Center and present-day industry consultant for SAS Institute. Peet says he foresees rapid changes in the intrinsic investigatory process used by law enforcement agencies. Here are three trends he believes will have some of the strongest impact on how police work cases:
Social media analytics (SMA) and sentiment analysis tools. Peet says these tools will become increasingly important in canvassing Twitter, Facebook and other social network feeds as an early-warning system for threats on officials, and other potential trouble spots or issues. “Look for automation of the technologies,” predicts Peet, who adds that, “as...massive amounts of data are analyzed, the system is sending alerts to analysts when certain thresholds or business rules are met.”
Confidential informant protocols. It’s not unusual for operations run by multiple agencies involving confidential informants to not be on the same page. Peet says a future remedy will be developing “tools that provide capabilities that automate multi-jurisdictional de-confliction of informants. Such tools will give law enforcement greater latitude in their use of, and better management options for, confidential informants while reducing the overall risk to the agency when using informants.” The de-confliction of confidential informants among different law enforcement agencies involves getting all the data about a CI in one repository and providing a single view of an informant, while still protecting the CI’s identity.
Revamped management practices. Faced with budget cuts, agencies will work to get more out of their officers, even with outdated technology. Consequently, personnel are being evaluated on their effectiveness and ability to use technology to discover connections and patterns of criminal activity in an effort to disrupt or prevent the actual crime from being committed. “If agencies can forecast the probabilities for criminal activities based on solid data, and thereby disrupt crimes and terrorism, then they can reduce costs across the spectrum,” Peet says.
Peet says most agencies today are not doing true intelligence led policing but are really doing information led policing. Intelligence led policing is very important if agencies will start doing it.
While Drew Kelley, director of marketing for ProMag Industries/Archangel Manufacturing, watches politicians bat around the gun issue in our nation’s capitol, his company is still developing better and more efficient firearms, capable of giving law enforcement an increasing edge.
“There’s much more emphasis on polymer-framed pistols,” Kelley says, noting the big differences in carrying a lightweight weapon that can accommodate more rounds with less weight. “These are relatively comfortable to wear,” he says, adding that carrying a lighter combat load makes for a less physically stressful shift for the officer.
He also says the trend to pack more ammo into lighter weaponry can be a real asset in combat conditions. “As anyone who has been in a fire fight knows, ammo is your friend,” Kelley says.
So what exactly is Kelley’s company launching? Here are the stocks Kelley says are poised for introduction at or before press time:
The AAM1A for the M14/M1A rifles (Kelley notes that quite a few agencies are acquiring M14’s from DoD for tactical units, although it is his understanding that DoD is shipping these with the full-auto feature disabled); the AA870SC/AA500SC for the Rem-870 and Moss-500/590 shotguns; the AA1430 SPARTA for putting a modern pistol-grip stock on the Mini-14/30; and the new AA700 for the Rem-700 sniper rifle.