Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $999,587)
RTI International and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) will collaborate to conduct research on the impact that technology has on policing strategies in the 21st century. The proposed project will be conducted in several phases using a research-based framework to provide the law enforcement community with a roadmap for how to use technology effectively. In Phase I of the project, an expert panel will be convened to discuss prioritized technology application areas identified by the research team. In Phase II of the project, a nationally representative survey will be administered to a sample of 1,285 law enforcement agencies (LEAs) to assess the implementation, use, and impact of technologies. The proposed survey will build on an earlier 2008 survey by examining how technology, already obtained, influences police strategy and how strategy can influence the choice of technology acquired. The survey results will be also used to categorize agencies on the basis of their use of selected technology areas and to inform the selection of agencies in the site-level evaluations in Phase III. In Phase III, the research team will conduct evaluations in 10 "high-technology implementer" agencies that are using technologies in the prioritized areas. Through staff interviews, police administrative data, and observational data, the research team will focus on answering a number of research questions concerning the bi-directional relationship between specific police technologies and policing strategies. Additionally, a sample of 10 "low-technology implementer" agencies will be selected to examine what occurs in the absence of technology, including how strategies are developed and implemented in these departments. Using results from the survey and the site evaluations, a guiding framework document will present guidelines and key questions that should be considered when selecting, integrating, and implementing technologies by departments to assist law enforcement executives in making informed decisions regarding technology and its connection to policing strategies.