More than 3,700 died in the line of duty over the 30 years between 1987 and 2016. The data includes accidental and felonious deaths, and in several of the recent years, the number of felonious deaths exceeded the accidental.

Body armor and the increased use of seat belts contribute to fewer fatalities. Advances in practice and equipment are also contributing to a safer work environment for law enforcement professionals.

Learning about new technology is key to making sure officers are even safer. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) held its annual Technology Conference from May 23-25.

The IACP is dedicated to the advancement of law enforcement through advocacy, outreach and education. The Technology Conference occurred for the 42nd year running, and is an event that fosters innovation and advancement of equipment, techniques and strategies to protect the public and the police force.

Technology plays an integral role in the daily routine of officers. Assuring that those men and women in the field have the most advanced tools will make them safer, more efficient and effective in protecting the public and the communities they serve.

The conference had a diverse and large attendance with officers from all over the United States as well as Canada and Europe. Among the technologies exhibited were systems to make paperwork and reporting systems more timely and efficient. Former FBI Director James B. Comey had specifically called for detailed, incident-based data protocols at a previous IACP conference.

Zach Parkes wears a Motorola system.

There were big names from the consumer tech world working at the conference, including Microsoft, Samsung, Panasonic and Motorola. The types of technologies ranged from modern systems of human resources management to real-time retrieval and recording of roadside interactions.

Standing out were the numerous products to record the activity of an officer in the field. This particular branch of technology included adapters for use with smartphones to create bodycam-like imaging capture and body cam technologies that are fully integrated into the dashboard squad car systems.

Visual Labs demonstrated the use of an off-the-shelf smartphone that provides the function of a body camera, digital camera, audio recorder and personnel locator.

Motorola’s offerings were representative of integrated systems. The technology was enthusiastically demonstrated by the team with Zach Parkes, one of the solution experts. The aspect of integration includes management of digital evidence that the systems can capture.

Guns and bullets are tools of both the officers and offenders. The means to efficiently determine the gun from which a bullet originated is the objective of new technology demonstrated by Tom Joyce, vice president of Vigilant Solutions.

Tom Joyce of Vigilant Solutions. The bullet imaging system is the gadget on his right, near his elbow.

Precise imaging technology will enable an earlier picture of shooting patterns in a complex crime scene where more than one gun was used. Several companies had auditory-based technology to analyze gunshot noise and identify the weapons used.

Another unique auditory-based technology had risk situations as the target. With the premise that 90 percent of physical aggression is preceded by verbal aggression, the technology interprets noise, language and tone to alert to situations where a person is physically in peril.

For example, uses would be those situations where a camera would be inappropriate, such as restrooms and shower areas. That technology by Louroe Electronics has applications in schools, prisons or any area where there are vulnerable people and a camera is not appropriate.

Sixty-six officers have lost their lives on duty this year. Of these, twenty-eight were due to gunshots and five were assaulted by vehicles. Any means to prevent such tragedies needs to be deployed.

The available technology on display at the recent conference provides the means to prevent, deter and decrease the harm and injury to those who risk their lives every day to protect their communities.