How to Use Technology to Manage Officer Safety

Law enforcement officers face many potential safety hazards, but technology continues to evolve to help them manage risk in all aspects of the job. Some current practices can negatively impact officer safety, with 96% of law enforcement professionals agreeing that being heads down while doing data entry can reduce situational awareness. To help solve these types of safety challenges, technologies like speech recognition and advanced mobile computing platforms are enabling enhanced officer safety. Additionally, vital 4G LTE connectivity is maintaining connectivity to law enforcement data and communications. These advances in technology are helping to keep our communities safer.

In today’s mobile world, solution providers need to think about officer safety holistically – whether on patrol or at the station. Panasonic’s technology is already being used to promote safety and will continue to innovate as challenges in law enforcement evolve.

Always-on connectivity

Law enforcement professionals depend on always-on connectivity to ensure quick response times and to be able to seamlessly communicate with one another in the event of an emergency or natural disaster. With devices that connect to 4G LTE on a dedicated first responder network, officers can stay connected, even if power is down or other wireless networks are crowded.

Access to enhanced data on a dedicated network allows emergency personnel to respond to public safety threats more quickly and efficiently, enabling more lives to be saved. It also ensures that public safety officials will have access to necessary information, no matter where they are.

With current practices, law enforcement has to manually query the address for a history or person search in various systems to gain access to information on the subject — which can be both time-consuming and inhibit officer safety. In the future, enhanced connectivity will provide a critical connection to automated queries, simplifying the processing of big data. A heads-up display, which would keep officers’ eyes on the road and allow them to be more situationally aware, will increase officer safety.

Speech recognition technology

Traditionally, an officer can spend up to three to four hours a shift on paperwork alone. This valuable time could be better spent in the field.

Writing reports in the field directly after an incident has occurred can be beneficial with details fresh in an officer’s mind. Law enforcement officers have traditionally typed their reports in their patrol vehicles, which can open them up to potential hazards, as they are heads down focused on a computer screen and not on their surroundings.

With speech recognition technology, like Dragon Law Enforcement, officers have an alternative method to typing reports. This technology allows officers to use a microphone connected to a TOUGHBOOK device to input data, creating an environment that bolsters situational awareness. Now, time that would previously be spent reporting is freed up to focus on community safety.

Voice-to-text technology is also extremely beneficial for law enforcement because they are able to quickly relay messages while on the go without compromising safety. This technology streamlines workflows, increases productivity, and ultimately supports safer work conditions for public safety professionals in the field.

Mobile technology

Deployment of mobile technology throughout an entire public safety agency is necessary for the digital world we live in. Law enforcement officers work in many environments and have a vital need for portable computing solutions. TOUGHBOOK rugged solutions can dock inside a vehicle, and be removed, therefore enhancing productivity and increasing flexibility in an ever-changing environment.

With mobile technology, public safety officials can gain real-time access to data from throughout the organization and spend less time manually transmitting data from one source to another. This gives law enforcement access to data in the field that would have previously only been available sitting at a desk. This streamlined workflow saves agencies critical time and money.