The costs of policing have risen steadily over the past decade. And with every tick upwards, law enforcement agencies have faced more pressure from government officials and the public to contain those costs.
That pressure will only continue to mount. As a result, agencies need to look closely at their personnel and non-personnel budgets and determine how to spend most effectively to serve their communities.
Smart technology can be one of the solutions to this complex problem. It has the potential to transform not only frontline police work, but also how large and small agencies manage their offices for better cost containment.
With smart technology, you can focus personnel where they can deliver the most value.
Personnel expenditures make up a huge part of most police budgets. As budgets and offices grow, more full-time employees are needed just to keep the agency running. But they are often not utilized effectively.
That’s not a major revelation to any law enforcement leader. It is the reason many law enforcement agencies have turned to smart technology in recent years to automate work that doesn’t necessarily need to be done by people. For example, deploying license plate readers to monitor vehicles, adding motion capture systems to surveillance cameras, or using predictive policing software to gauge where to best use patrol officers.
The power of smart technology for improving frontline police work is evident. But agencies looking to do more with less can also use smart technology to streamline some of the administrative work that is a necessary part of day-to-day police operations.
You can streamline police administration with smart technology.
Look for ways to cost-effectively automate operations that cut into your personnel budget. For example, many agencies can benefit by taking a closer look at how they track and manage their equipment.
Modern policing requires a large volume of equipment such as weapons, radar guns, duty bags, 2-way radios, TASERs, body cameras, laptops, narcotics, and biohazardous materials. Using staff to manage this equipment remains an all-too-common practice. Equipment management needs often start small but grow over time. Smart technology solutions for tracking equipment and managing fleets have many benefits for the modern police force.
When you make work measurable, you make it predictive.
One of the most powerful aspects of smart technology is that it can gather its own metrics. It can help you accurately track when, where, and how equipment is distributed. Real-time reporting can help you better manage your operational capabilities, redistribute equipment where it is needed the most, and ensure effective management of controlled substances, evidence chain-of-custody and regulated equipment.
Over time, the data collected from smart technology systems can also help you control equipment loss and make more accurate predictions about what you need to purchase for upcoming inventory refreshes. So not only will a smart system reduce the number of full-time employees required to manage equipment, but it can also automatically help you optimize your equipment budgets.
Now is the time to push for change.
Twenty-first century policing needs to be fast, agile, and adaptable. It will also need to be data driven.
The concept of data-driven policing still makes some people bristle, but it shouldn’t. Data will never replace human expertise and experience in policing. On the contrary, good data collected from an agency’s smart technology systems will make its experts even more effective.
With law enforcement agencies facing continued pressure to do more with less, smart technology innovations offer a cost-effective strategy to build more streamlined, smart, and effective police forces.