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Evolution and Development of Police Technology

NCJ Number
Date Published
126 pages
This detailed look at the evolution and development of police technology is intended to help readers as they consider the evolution and future development of police technology and the role of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) in fostering that development.
The report is divided into four sections and includes a time line that charts the course of police technology. Part One reviews the history of police technology, the formation and growth of Federal assistance for its development, and the early accomplishments of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ). The job of fulfilling special technology needs for State and local law enforcement belongs to the National Institute of Justice, the criminal justice research arm of the U.S. Department of Justice. NIJ's Office of Science and Technology fosters technology research and development when it otherwise will not occur. To determine technology requirements, the Office of Science and Technology regularly surveys the police through its Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Advisory Council, which is comprised of top law enforcement officials from throughout the country. It also develops voluntary product standards and compliance and testing processes; and it disseminates a wide range of information on police technology. Part Two of this report examines in detail current and prospective police technologies as they are used in performing key functions: safeguarding life, protecting citizens, solving crimes, communicating with citizens and police colleagues, traffic enforcement, and managing the police agency, particularly in terms of the increasing use of information technologies. Part Three deals with policy issues and practical matters, as well as NIJ's role in addressing them; the future of police technology is discussed. Part Four offers observations that Federal policy makers may wish to consider in fostering the development and adoption of new technologies for the police. Appendixes document developments in police technology.

Date Published: January 1, 1998