When my Editorial Director wrote instruction out to write about how law enforcement has changed (or not) since the attack, I had trouble answering. There were a ton of technological advancements made, but we love to push technology’s envelope – again and again. Without 9/11, these innovations might be slightly different than what we read about in the latest issues of LET and LEPN, but the key is something would have changed. So, while I do remember the world pre-Internet, it’s one filtered through a child’s eye. It’s a world where my perception is altered by inexperience and age. My “more” adult perception hasn’t known without this day. So it’s nearly impossible for me to discern what’s changed.
I have, I know that – hopefully.
You have. We all have, right?
Law enforcement as I know it has always needed better ways to communicate. We’ve even seen a multitude of new solutions to alleviate this issue. Some have evolved, been adapted, and others already out-dated. Law enforcement as I know it has always had a “militarization” debate. It’s gone from looking like patrol officers, to decked-out emergency tactical response, and back to patrol officers again.
Law enforcement as I know it has always been covered by two sides of the media with two or more varying interpretations of the truth. In that inspired even more technological solutions like personal video cameras and electronic less-lethal devices – to reference a couple. For me, these two sides have always had a very vocal skepticism on those enforcing this country’s law. While debate is the core of our country, those in question are cut of the same cloth of the same people that ran into the dust. These are the same people moving towards the pleas for help. These debates might just be less about law enforcement, and more about humanity.
Law enforcement as I know it has always been people. Technology makes a difference depending on what we make of it and what we do with it. Having a network back-up for the back-up helps, chemical/hazard detection, facial recognition, and high tech surveillance cameras are all but tools. These don’t change law enforcement alone.
The question shouldn’t be about how law enforcement has changed, but how have we.