Adopting New Police Technology Despite Four Common Barriers

A survey taken at the International Association of Chiefs of Police 2023 conference revealed that an overwhelming 94% of respondents said they are “concerned or extremely concerned about current staffing shortages.” 

With many industries turning to technology solutions to address labor shortages, that statistic brings a new question to mind: How can police technology help with staffing shortages?

Law enforcement technology should be designed to make the job easier, more efficient, and more effective. This is especially important when staff are stretched thin. However, the benefits of police technology solutions only manifest if departments and their tech partners overcome certain barriers to adopting new tech. Here are four of the main obstacles police departments across the country face and how embracing new technology can help with industry-wide staffing issues.

1. Keeping up with police technology

With the myriad of responsibilities that come with the job, it’s easy to understand why law enforcement leaders may not be able to keep up with the latest advances in enterprise mobility management.

“There’s an abundance of information,” said Christopher Mannino, vice president of Julie Parker Communications and retired police chief, in a recent webinar. “And if you’re not tech savvy, where do you start? Who do you trust?”

A law enforcement officer uses police technology on a police laptop.

This knowledge gap can create challenges and delays for departments as they try to determine which technologies they should deploy. In these cases, a trusted partner can provide the missing information. TOUGHBOOK products and teams create that trust with unmatched reliability

  • TOUGHBOOK police laptops boast a failure rate of 3%. Competitor’s rugged devices fail at 4 times that rate. And consumer products fail up to 7.5 times more.
  • TOUGHBOOK tablets have a failure rate of 4.4%. Other rugged tablets fail three times more often, at a rate of 12.8%.  

“The end user shouldn’t worry about whether their technology is going to work when they need it,” said Sean Georgia, territory account manager for Panasonic Connect professional services (and retired Director of Communications and Information Services at the Pennsylvania State Police), in that same webinar.  

2. Training and skills development challenges

Choosing the right tech is just step one. Even the best police technology can only meet its potential if used correctly. That means making sure everyone feels fully comfortable with new tech.

“There’s a lot of expectation, especially by our youngest generation, that any tech we adopt is going to be fairly intuitive,” said Mannino.  

After all, officers need to be out in their communities, rather than being stuck in classrooms learning about the technology they need to use on a daily basis – or stuck in IT trying to get issues resolved. When they are on the job, they need easy-to-use interfaces and intuitive devices that result in fewer issues in the field and less need for IT help: 

  • Consumer devices result in 20% more IT issues than TOUGHBOOK products. Each failure averages 64 minutes of lost time before the issue is resolved.
  • Consumer devices have 28% more connectivity issues. This is especially frustrating in rural areas with less reliable wireless connectivity.  

3. Not enough IT resources for enterprise mobility management

Another issue agencies face when it comes to deploying law enforcement technology is the fact that some of the smaller agencies don’t even have IT departments. Even departments that do have IT staff may share them with the rest of the city, meaning there is no specialization regarding police technology. This lack of permanent IT staff makes enterprise mobility management nearly impossible on an ongoing basis.

In addition to the ongoing issue, there’s also a short-term concern to consider. Implementing new tech requires installation, training, and configuration. This creates project-based staffing demands that even well-resourced IT departments may have trouble satisfying.

Bridging the gap with help in the last mile

For those agencies that just don’t have enough resources or the right staff in place to take devices from delivery to the hands of their end users, Panasonic Connect’s Last Mile Deployment Service can help get you up and running by helping with those final few steps.

Our experts can come in to supplement existing IT staff and help with a variety of tasks including:  

  • Unboxing
  • Issuing tech to end users
  • Installing and configuring software
  • Configuring network settings 

This is a viable solution for project-based needs, frees up existing IT staff, and offers cost-efficient expertise, ensuring police departments have everything installed correctly and functioning properly. This option helps alleviate ongoing enterprise mobility management issues and offers the following benefits:  

  • Flexible Duration: Staff augmentation lasts only as long as it’s needed, from a few months to a year or more.
  • Expertise: Panasonic engineers have advanced IT skills and specific knowledge of TOUGHBOOK technology.
  • Affordability: All staff augmentation is managed by the customer with on-site IT tech services charged at an hourly rate.
  • Simplicity: Panasonic provides a single point of contact, ensuring familiarity.  

4. Restraints on police technology budget

Another major obstacle to adopting police technology is budget. For many agencies, the vast majority of budgets go to personnel concerns such as salaries and retirement. Only a small fraction is left for everything else, including updating law enforcement technology.


TOUGHBOOK as a Service offers budget flexibility

To combat these budget restraints, Panasonic offers TOUGHBOOK as a Service (TaaS). TaaS brings in the newest and best technology, working within even limited budgets. Here are a few features of TaaS: 

  • Subscription service that allows departments to shift costs from CAPEX to OPEX funds.
  • Can be applied to any Panasonic service or hardware.
  • Offers pricing plans to fit different needs including terms of 36, 48, or 60 months.
  • Can be configured (with the help of Panasonic experts) to specific needs, meaning departments can utilize both CAPEX and OPEX in a way that makes sense for them.  

Other ways we can help combat law enforcement budget restraints include:  

  • xPAK customizations, which are configurable modular areas on the devices that an agency can change out as needed. These customizations allow agencies to upgrade tech without completely replacing entire devices.
  • Grants office: Grants can help defray costs for law enforcement entities. We can assist your agency with research and proposal support to hopefully get your project funded.  

Overcome any barrier with the right partner

“Tech employed in the wrong way becomes a barrier,” said Mannino. That’s why it’s critical to have a trusted partner that can help with every step: from choosing the right police technology to making sure it provides benefits for years to come. Panasonic Connect’s law enforcement solutions can meet those goals while alleviating IT staffing constraints in the process.