Technology for Effective Policing As Research Paper

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The field is generally that of social control, informal and formal, and it sits in a surround, the larger political forces in a city or a nation (Manning 2008, p. 87).

The most prominent of these political pressures is a public, at least in the United States, that is ostensibly averse to constant monitoring as well as the continued militarization of the police force though the deployment of technologies such as those used in special operations. In their editorial regarding intersection cameras and automatic license plate scanners, the editors of McClatchy propose that, "somehow there has to be a way to take into consideration the uncomfortable feeling people get when they believe they are being spied on with the justifiable methods of making law enforcement more efficient" (McClatchy 2010). They suggest the place to start is the database where recorded video and license plate data is kept anywhere from a week to six months. The editorial suggests that a limit of a week would be sufficient to allow for the apprehension of suspects without unduly recording or tracking innocent civilians, but this number seems arbitrary, because the system could still be abused to wrongfully surveil someone over the course of a week, and only keeping information for that long offers the very real possibility that criminals could exploit this limitations for their advantage. A more reasonable solution would be to keep the recorded information indefinitely, but give the public access to it. This has the effect of keeping this information available for law enforcement while assuaging fears of undue surveillance, and further, it exponentially expands the number of eyes capable of catching suspicious behavior, thus integrating the public more closely into their own policing.

Public response also explains how pepper spray remains the most common suspect control technology even though Tasers are becoming increasingly popular among law enforcement. Simply from the perspective of a bystander, pepper spray looks (and is) much less violent than a baton, and it does not instill the same sense of technological torture as
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someone writhing around while being electrocuted (Moriarty 2005, p. 100). Although Moriarty notes in Criminal Justice Technology in the 21st Century that "the primary use for the Taser is in those situations involving a violent or struggling suspect when pepper spray has not worked or is not feasible," the Taser's increasing use a first resort when dealing with belligerent suspects has given many in the public reason for pause when considering their continued deployment. Furthermore, the use of Tasers by police has meant their inevitable trickle towards less-trained private security guards, so that even if police themselves are utilizing their suspect control technology safely, they run the risk of encouraging inexperienced, less accountable persons to readily use technology they may be untrained for.

The use of technology for effective policing relies on a number of factors, but ultimately the most important to consider are safety, cost, and public response. Improved materials and communications devices allow for greater individual safety, and costs can be reduced by considering all the necessary functions of police work during the development stage, so that advances in one area help across the board. Public response, though difficult to gauge, can itself be used for effective policing when patrol officers use their communication technology to make themselves more available to their communities. Thus, when any technology is deployed that citizens may consider too onerous, like license plate tracking or the Tasering of a suspect, the perceived distance between the public and their police is much smaller, thus lessening the chance of resentment towards a monolithic, uncaring agency. Instead, the public itself can contribute to the effective deployment of policing technology, and as electronics develop exponentially over the next decade, careful discussion between policing agencies and the public will be required to maximize the benefits of any new technologies.

Works Cited

Editorial: balance public concerns, police technology. (2010, December 30). McClatchy

Tribune Business News.

Manning, P.K. (2008). The technology of policing: crime mapping, information technology, and the rationality of crime control. New York, NY: New York University Press, 87-88.

Moriarty, L.J. (2005). Criminal justice in the 21st…

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Editorial: balance public concerns, police technology. (2010, December 30). McClatchy

Tribune Business News.

Manning, P.K. (2008). The technology of policing: crime mapping, information technology, and the rationality of crime control. New York, NY: New York University Press, 87-88.

Moriarty, L.J. (2005). Criminal justice in the 21st century. Springfield, IL: Charles C. Thomas

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