What Will Be the Future’s Greatest Challenges for Law Enforcement? Discovering Solutions Through Mobile App Innovation

Ken Schul

(Retired Captain, CMPD), Director, StackBench

Law enforcement faces challenges daily. It is difficult enough to be an officer and handle the types of incidents that ensue daily. However, when equipment fails, it causes more unwanted stress to law enforcement officers. Technical difficulties are one of the many obstacles a police officer or sheriff’s deputy may encounter in one day. By equipping officers with reliable communication tools, agencies can bring peace of mind to their personnel. One way to overcome these challenges is by introducing modern, dependable technology into daily operations.

Current Challenges

Public safety is a busy profession that faces constant obstacles. Many of these challenges are on-the-job incidents that require swift action, instant decisions, and stress under pressure. The job is stressful enough without adding unnecessary tension such as equipment failing to operate. When equipment law enforcement officers rely on fail, their safety is at risk. Police radios are the main source of communication between dispatch and first responders. Dispatchers relate all information from the public to police officers. If the officers' radio does not work, a dispatcher may be able to call the officer or deputy directly on their cell phone, but it is much quicker to radio.

An additional line of communication between officers and their supervisors is through email. However, these forms of communication may be unseen, and a supervisor cannot tell if an employee read a memo unless they acknowledge they have.

The public faces a challenge when attempting to contact the police. Especially if the situation is not an emergency for 9-1-1, citizens may have trouble reaching a particular division in the police department. For instance, if an individual wants to report a crime that happened earlier, they would have to call their local police department and then ask for the proper division. Details may be unintentionally omitted as the information is passed to the responding officer.

All of these challenges may be solved with the use of modern technology such as a mobile application. With an app for police, officers can receive messages directly in a variety of ways. Direct messages are one of the numerous benefits of using an app in policing.

Technological Benefits

The benefits of using technology such as an app for police are numerous. The challenges police officers or sheriff deputies have faced in the past may be overcome with the use of an app.

One obstacle law enforcement agencies face is implementing a new piece of technology into a previously used system. It may be challenging to introduce a new type of program into a department that has never used that type of system before. Often personnel may become frustrated learning a new system or that the newly introduced program does not work with older equipment. It is for these reasons a police app is an ideal solution. A smartphone application is familiar technology to the majority of the population. A police app may be used on an iOS or Android phone and can be navigated like other commonly used applications.

A police or sheriff app may also be incorporated into a department's daily operations immediately without impacting older technology. Once an app is downloaded, it is ready to go, and updates occur automatically.

An app specifically for law enforcement has many advantages for police and citizens alike. For instance, an app can allow police to conveniently alert the public regarding incidents that may have occurred such as accidents or areas of police activity. Apps for police can also serve as a direct line from citizens to law enforcement. The UCP Sheriff and UCP Police applications from StackBench, provide the public a direct point of contact to police. These particular apps even have a feature that allows the public to upload photos and videos from their phone directly to law enforcement. The ability to connect quickly and efficiently is helpful. The instantaneous connection between police or sheriff’s deputies and the public they protect increases the likelihood of citizens contacting police with tips, leads, and other important information. A fast connection such as this also helps law enforcement generate leads quickly.

Future Challenges

With technology and new systems come challenges. The advantage of an app is that it will usually update itself without manually seeking an update or taking time to research and upgrade the system. The biggest obstacle law enforcement agencies will face is forming the habit of using the application. Previous habits can be hard to break, but once a new technology is introduced and used, it will improve daily operations and productivity. For example, a police and sheriff app that allows the public to contact police directly can expedite response time to a call. With UCP Police and UCP Sheriff apps, first responders can view the caller's GPS coordinates, if provided. Having an exact location available allows officers to go directly to the location of the incident without any guesswork. Often an individual places a call to the police dispatch center, and the message may be unintentionally misunderstood, which can delay the first responder.

The ability for command staff to directly contact their personnel through an app for police means personnel will receive messages instantly. The more information first responders have, the better for public safety and situational awareness.

Another future challenge law enforcement agencies may face is encouraging the public to use the police app and sheriff app. However, law enforcement agencies can let the people they serve know the benefits of the application by educating the public about the advantages of this technology. The more the public sees their local law enforcement agency post about the app and the more alerts they see police posts, the more likely the public will use the police app.

Police technology has made strides in various areas of law enforcement. From modern patrol cars and radios to tasers and forensic equipment, technology has only improved the world of policing. It can be difficult to get everyone on board with a new way of accomplishing tasks. A police app is advantageous because it is a type of technology most people are familiar with. The Unified Communications Platform from StackBench offers law enforcement and the citizens they serve an easy way to connect and share information. In addition, apps for police allow command staff the opportunity to converse with their personnel easily and securely.

As technology is introduced more into society on a personal and business level, it has impacted daily operations. Incorporating a police app into a department now will make future technological changes easier to incorporate.

The Answer

A mobile app is a convenient solution to closing the gap between the public and law enforcement. Recent studies have also shown police technology helps reduce crime. Reducing crime is just one of the many reasons law enforcement should consider implementing technology into their daily operations. For instance, CTZ cameras installed by police have reduced crime simply due to their presence. With a police app, there is an advantage for both law enforcement and their citizens. A mobile police application allows local law enforcement to make important public safety announcements or alerts. The ability to conveniently exchange information between citizens and police means instant, reliable communication.

Technology constantly changes, evolving all the time. Keeping up with modern technology can be difficult; when an app is used updates are completed automatically. By introducing a police app to a department and their community, law enforcement agencies can keep up with technological changes as they come.

Often budgets interfere with a department acquiring new equipment. An application such as a police app, is budget-friendly and costs nothing for the public to use.

The present day is filled with technology and its use is going to increase as time goes on. By utilizing a police app now, agencies can get ahead in technology use and can enhance their safety and productivity at the same time. Before, law enforcement had to rely on police radios and landline telephones for all communication. Though radios and landline phones have remained in use, these have improved over time. The next innovation to become prevalent was email. Emails have allowed people to connect instantly and are still prevalent today.

A police app takes technology to the next level by directly connecting law enforcement with the public they serve. An app also allows law enforcement to post alerts regarding police activity. Instant posts such as these alert the public faster than other ways.

All forms of technology will have issues. However, an application such as UCP Police and Sheriff from StackBench offers advanced technology that is easier to maintain and keep up to date. Once a police agency uses innovative technology, it is easier to incorporate more technology into the department.

Apps for police are a convenient way for law enforcement to become more efficient, reduce response time, connect with the public, and become part of modern policing. For more information on the benefits of a police or sheriff app, visit StackBench and the UCP Police and Sheriff product information pages.