6 Technologies Police Recruits Look For
Attracting and retaining new law enforcement officers is challenging even in the best of times. Complicating the challenge of recruiting and retaining new officers is the need to address new generations of recruits, consisting of the Gen Zers just now entering the workforce and younger millennials in search of new careers. While the different values held by this new workforce have agencies rethinking recruitment and training strategies, there is a table-stakes issue that they must address: technology.
Millennials grew up in the internet era, and Gen Z grew up on screens. Both tech-savvy generations expect the same technology at work that they use in their everyday lives. In fact, 90.6% of Gen Zers say that a potential employer’s level of technology sophistication influences their decision to work there.
Meeting the Technology Imperative
Police departments looking to attract new officers from this demographic must invest in the latest on-the-job technology and take advantage of incoming recruits’ technological comfort level. Today’s mobile equipment, combined with the speed and reliability of wireless networks, can deliver on this requirement with:
- No-lag connectivity. The generations that grew up streaming movies to mobile phones expect uninterrupted, high-speed connectivity on the job — even when transmitting high volumes of data and visual information such as video and images. Today’s 4G LTE and 5G cellular networks — as well as FirstNet — make this expectation easier to address. However, for many agencies, providing continuous digital connectivity to officers will mean upgrading field equipment to move away from dependence on radio communications.
- Work that gets done in the field. That high-speed connectivity enables officers to perform the majority of their work tasks from the field, freeing up more time to spend in the community. With the right combination of mobile equipment, software, and connectivity, officers no longer have to return to headquarters during their shift to file reports, upload videos, and perform other data-heavy work tasks. That means more police presence in the community and faster response to calls.
- Integrated body and dash cameras. Body-mounted and in-vehicle cameras can go a long way toward increasing community trust while enhancing officer safety and situational awareness. Law enforcement agencies may take this a step further by integrating camera output with in-car equipment to enable real-time streaming, enabling command staff to view events as they unfold and communicate remotely.
- eCitations and digital reports. Mobile devices and apps enable officers to capture information accurately, record interviews, take photos, issue eCitations and upload reports. With these capabilities, agencies cut down on waste and input errors by eliminating rekeying of data back at headquarters. Patrol officers may also look up incident reports, access driver information, and reduce the length of routine traffic stops. In addition, incorporating mobile apps facilitates easy adoption of these new capabilities by millennials and Gen Zers with little training required.
- MIL-Spec equipment. Modern departments must meet field use requirements with tablets, 2-in-1 laptops and handheld computers that meet military-grade specifications for ruggedness while supporting the latest applications and network connectivity requirements. For example, the Panasonic TOUGHBOOK G2 offers the portability of a rugged tablet with a keyboard option that makes it easy to handle tasks in the field.
- Familiar user experience. New tablets and 2-in-1 laptops that run Android or Windows will meet millennials and Gen Zers where they are most comfortable by providing a familiar user experience. For example, a rugged Android tablet such as the TOUGHBOOK S1 provides the power to run a range of applications and support for 4G LTE, FirstNet, and Band 14 connectivity.
Recruiting the next generation of police officers requires that agencies offer the next generation of technology in the field. Learn more about how Panasonic TOUGHBOOK mobile devices can help your department meet the technology expectations of today’s recruits.