Four Trends in Public Safety
The only constant is change. Our country today looks vastly different than it did even ten years ago. Law enforcement and public safety are rapidly changing due to advanced technology and policymaking. After talking with dozens of police agencies and law enforcement professionals across the country, we have identified the following four trends that are impacting public safety right now
1. Increased Use of Technology and Tools
Proactive policing and increased accountability require advanced technology to support officers on their beat. This includes hardware such as body cams and drones. Many agencies have put resources into body cams to drive transparency around interactions. Tools like drones equip officers with the ability to surveil and mitigate risks in situations such as active shooters and crowd monitoring.
Beyond physical hardware, the future of policing is rooted in software technology. Agencies are allocating resources to deploy modern software to make officers more effective and efficient in their jobs. One of the key software trends we’ve seen is that of cloud-based records management systems, which offer several key features:
- Streamlined reporting
- Access to real-time data anywhere
- Easy submission to NIBRS
2. A Focus on Training
The shift in what it means to work in law enforcement can be challenging for agencies as they implement new policies and procedures. Change requires continual training to create well-rounded officers.
Depending on the state, officers across the country must complete a specified number of training hours. Still, beyond that, some agencies are implementing additional training around use-of-force and technology.
3. Increasing Community Outcomes with Community Oriented Policing
While The Office of Community Oriented Policing has been around since 1994, the idea of community-oriented policing has become more prevalent as agencies across the nation face challenges of distrust between their officers and the people they serve.
An increase in community outcomes relies on law enforcement agencies collaborating with communities to address issues and allocate resources where necessary.
4. Mental Health for Law Enforcement Officers
Law enforcement officers are 50% more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. While stigma still exists for officers and mental health, many agencies take proactive approaches to tackle these issues head-on. This includes implementing support models, holding debrief meetings after high-stress situations, and offering resources to officers without reprimand.
Initiatives surrounding mental and physical health have become top priorities for many agencies to retain and recruit officers. Many departments strive toward creating environments where officers can be transparent about their mental health.
Law enforcement agencies face a myriad of challenges on the job today. But with advanced technology, training, and resources, there are ways for officers to do their job effectively to create safer communities.
Follow us as we report on the trends we see and forecast what future trends in public safety may look like.