The advancement of technology has enhanced the relationship between police and communities by being able to improve these relations by the enhancement of police work. Seeing the positive outcomes of technology and policing such as work efficiencies and the effectiveness of crime control (Lum, Koper, & Willis, 2017, p.136). The use of these new found technological advances such as license plate readers, and computerized records have been useful when coming to the publics aid. As if one’s vehicle were to be stolen in the community the license plate reader can scan hundred of plates in minutes rather than having to manually enter each license plate. We now also have computerized records that makes data easier to find and analyze. Also, with the use of computers/ laptops and radios dispatchers can directly contact officers with the usage of signals and codes to immediately direct them to a citizen in need of help.
In policing, technology has been able to improve the ability of police to identify and monitor offenders. Information technologies help facilitate the identification of hot spots and people to target them for crime prevention with the goal of reducing crime and recidivism. By using data from mobile computer systems, databases, and crime analysis this helps increase officer safety and reduce ambiguity about what to expect when answering a call. For example, “officers stated that technology allows them to determine the domestic violence history of a location before responding or lets them run a quick criminal history check on persons they are questioning in the field” (Lum, Koper, Willis, 2017, p. 145). Allowing for the officer to be more comfortable with the victims and suspects at hand without having to go in with a blind eye.
Agencies have also acquired new social media technologies to enhance communication between themselves and citizens to strengthen the relationship. “The usage of social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have improved relations with the public” (Velde, Meijer, ; Homburg, 2015, p. 1). By posting statuses alerting citizen of crucial events such as amber alerts, kidnappings, robbery suspects, and much more. The use of social media is not only to inform citizens about what is going on in their community but also to gain info from citizens and to engage them in co-operating with police. The usage of technology and its outcomes depend on the way that officers, civilians, and analysts use technology to achieve outcomes.
Police militarization has impacted the relationship between the police and communities negatively for some and positively for others. After Michael Brown’s death, riots ensued, and attention focused on both the actions of the local and state police. Police dressed in military attire, carrying military-grade weapons, and drove armored vehicles patrolling the streets of Ferguson during these riots. This series of protests and riots in Ferguson quickly gave rise to a nationwide debate about the degree to which police forces should possess military-grade weapons and other equipment.
A study was done by “administering a survey by the Monmouth University Polling Institute that asked respondents to remark on their perceptions of the police and terrorism” (Lockwood, Matthew, & Comiskey, 2016). The dependent variable being if the individuals support the militarization of police and if they feel the police should be able to use military weapons and equipment. For the independent variable we “explore the potential factors that might influence perceptions of police militarization, including several independent variables that represent demographic characteristics and perceptions of law enforcement and terrorism” (Lockwood, Matthew, & Comiskey, 2016). Gender, race, education, region of the country, age, political affiliation, and whether the respondent had ever been harassed by the police was also considered as to factors that could influence perceptions of police militarization.
“For each of the two dependent variables, four models will be estimated that regress the predictors on each of four reasons for the use of military weapons and equipment that include for counterterrorism, drug enforcement, gang enforcement, and finally, riot control” (Lockwood, Matthew, & Comiskey, 2016). Individuals with positive views of the police in terms of satisfaction and prior positive experiences were also more likely to support the militarization of the police on several of the outcomes and individuals who self-identified as liberals were shown to have lower odds of supporting police militarization.References
Lockwood, B., Doyle, M. D., & Comiskey, J. G. (2018). Armed, but too dangerous? Factors associated with citizen support for the militarization of the police. Criminal Justice Studies, 31(2), 113-127. doi:10.1080/1478601X.2017.1420652
Lum, C., Koper, C. S., & Willis, J. (2017). Understanding the limits of technology’s impact on police effectiveness. Police Quarterly, 20(2), 135-163. doi:10.1177/1098611116667279
van de Velde, B., Meijer, A., ; Homburg, V. (2015). Police message diffusion on Twitter: Analyzing the reach of social media communications. Behaviour ; Information Technology, 34(1), 4-16. doi:10.1080/0144929X.2014.942754