Sheriff department upgrades show increased need for technology
Wednesday, July 22, 2015
Resource upgrades routinely top the list of needs for every law enforcement agency, but never has the agenda been so aggressive like it is today. With the speed that technology and communications have developed and evolved in the past 10 years, the need for "new" has accelerated big time.
Sheriff departments across the country have been requisitioning and petitioning for better tools and equipment, from high-end computers, networks and bandwidth to telecommunications gadgets and upgraded weaponry. The nature of crime has changed and has become more complicated. If police work is to improve and be more effective, then resources have to as well.
Let's take a look at some recent upgrades and improvements across the country.
As Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones put it recently, systematic and strategic upgrades lead to smart policing. Last week, county officials were prepared to increase Jones' budget by 7 percent ($21 million) from last year, but he asked for an additional $9.8 million increase to almost $353 million.
As he so intelligently put it, if the department has to effectively transition to intelligence-led policing, then the administration has to make way for more funds to filter in.
And this is coming from more than just one department, since normal enforcement efforts are no longer enough to deal with the new wave of crime that threatens to assail us. With technology at their disposal and a global network to play with, criminals are hardly behind when it comes to resources.
Instead of criticizing police efforts, the need of the hour is to equip the officers with better tools so they have the necessary intel and data capabilities to anticipate crimes and apprehend criminals better. A look at the various requisitions is enough to showcase how departments' hands are tied when it comes to beating the new wave of crime.
In Christian County, Missouri, Interim Sheriff Dwight McNiel wants computer upgrades within the offices as well as in all police cars. Among the long list of reforms, making the computers in the patrol cars accessible is on the top of the agenda.
If done, McNiel says this will lead to better communication and a stronger police network with minimal room for errors and time lapse. Powerful remote access will enhance officer safety and benefit the public with more efficient and effective police work.
In Somerset County, New Jersey, Somerset County Sheriff Frank J. Provenzano has gone a step ahead to add drones to his wish list. Along with a fourth K-9 and body cameras, the department also wants a search-and-rescue drone, which will go a long way to improve their success rate and case closures.
Continuous and diligent efforts have paved the way for reforms and upgrades.
For example, the proposed 2016 budget for Macomb County, Michigan, shows not just pay hikes, but also resource upgrades like more body cameras for the sheriff's department. Then we have the Scottsdale, Arizona, and New Orleans police departments announcing upgrades to their cache of firearms. The former is upgrading to the 460 TASER X2 Smart Weapons while the latter is upgrading to 350 TASER X2 Smart Weapons with built in cam recorders.
The Missoula County Sheriff's Office in Montana has announced new vehicles coming in along with their new uniforms. Upgrading their vehicle fleet with power SUVs will enable better control over remote and harsher terrains outside city limits. More comfortable uniforms are in, along with "ballistic" vests underneath for more officer safety.
For effective crime-fighting, efficient resources are imperative. The need for reforms and upgrades is high in law enforcement.
More importantly, county, state and federal administrations have to realize that these upgrades can no longer be done once every 10 years. Technology is evolving, which means upgrades have to be continuous in order to train and equip officers better. This will lead to better police work and therefore enhanced public safety.
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