The State of Technology for Law Enforcement

2023 continued to bring challenges for law enforcement agencies. They had to keep up with increasing crime rates while working to recruit new talent and retain existing officers and deputies. Recognizing the seriousness of this challenge, the Justice Department even issued a report aimed at improving police hiring nationwide

This is an ongoing challenge — law enforcement agencies have been facing staffing shortages for a few years. Because of this, we’ve seen departments take innovative steps to help their officers fulfill existing responsibilities regardless of a reduced talent pool. For instance, many have turned to technology to help officers complete manual tasks more efficiently and prevent burnout.   

What priorities are most important for law enforcement leaders today? We conducted a survey to find out.

Fewer Officers, Same Amount of Work (or More)

The number of new officers entering the field is not sufficient to maintain pace with rising resignations. So, it’s no surprise that 94% of respondents to our survey highlighted staffing issues as their top concern. 

These staffing shortages not only impact current officers but communities as well. They often result in slower incident response and limit the time officers can spend interacting with their communities.

To make matters more challenging, crime rates continue to rise. Placing more focus on responding to incidents leaves less time to complete reporting, training, and other administrative and follow-up work, which are less urgent but still critical. 

Enhancing the Officer Experience with Technology

A recent study found that departments struggling with staffing and confronting increased crime rates are prioritizing technology investments. While technology could never replace the work of an officer, it does help boost their efficiency and effectiveness in the face of increased work demands.

Officers can spend up to half of their workday on reporting and documentation. Our survey uncovered leaders’ demand for solutions that facilitate data-driven decision-making, streamline manual tasks, provide situational awareness, and enhance real-time communication and collaboration.  

Rugged mobile technology, like laptops and tablets that were designed with law enforcement needs in mind, can help with each of these objectives. Tablets with built-in barcode readers, for instance, allow officers to scan driver’s licenses and issue an e-citation or look up information pertaining to the driver in much less time. Processing citations and traffic incidents becomes much more efficient, as officers can complete the required reporting at the incident itself.

Beyond traffic stops, devices that can connect to first responder networks like AT&T’s FirstNet and Verizon’s Frontline ensure officers can maintain communication with peers and access mission-critical information wherever they are. This level of reliable connectivity allows officers to share information and even receive pictures and videos capturing the situation so they can arrive at an incident better prepared for mission success.

From a reporting and administrative perspective, laptops with speech-to-text capabilities allow officers to write reports or look up information by dictating. This way, they can achieve faster, more accurate reporting and swift database queries all while staying alert with their eyes on the surroundings.  


Deploying new technology will not only help the existing workforce be more efficient, it will also help attract new officers to the force. In fact, 70% of Gen Z employees stated that they would leave their current jobs for better technology options. As with many other fields, technology has become crucial to the officer experience, giving them a way to streamline manual tasks so they can spend more time interacting with their communities. This in turn helps prevent burnout, retain experienced staff, and increase recruitment.

Minimizing the Burden on IT Teams

Critical staff shortages impact the law enforcement frontlines as well as internal departments, like IT.  Globally, 64% of tech leaders are facing a shortage of qualified, experienced candidates for IT and tech jobs. Without the talent to deploy and integrate technology into existing workflows, departments will face challenges working toward their broader digital transformation goals.

Amid these shortages, we’re seeing more departments prioritize IT services in addition to hardware and software offerings to help boost efficiency. For the small IT team at the Slidell Police Department in Louisiana, it was critical to deploy devices that were reliable and easy to operate. The Panasonic Connect Professional Services team worked closely with Slidell’s IT team to understand what the department needed and how to customize the right features for its units. With the TOUGHBOOK 55, the IT department was able to achieve a 1:1 device-to-officer ratio which reduced the need for constant device sanitization and reallocation between shifts. In the end, device trouble requests dropped by two-thirds and IT can work with Panasonic Connect for any larger troubleshooting incidents that come up. This has streamlined IT operations overall.

While troubleshooting services are critical, deployment support is also important for IT. That was the case for the Roswell, Georgia Police Department. After working closely with the Department’s IT team to identify the right devices, Panasonic Connect Professional Services supported the deployment process, making sure the device software was pre-installed and pre-configured. This saved their IT team valuable time to spend on other priorities.  

Looking Ahead

As the law enforcement sector continues to face staffing challenges with increased workloads and administrative demands, protecting and serving communities with efficiency and effectiveness remains a priority. Investing in technology and services that are rugged and durable, increase communications and connectivity, and provide job-specific features and services, like speech-to-text capabilities, flexible pricing models, and deployment support, will future-proof and streamline operations. This will help the law enforcement sector ease the work of existing employees, minimize burnout, and ultimately attract new talent.

For more survey results, view our infographic.