From social worker and mental health interventionist to family counselor and peace negotiator, as a society, we ask law enforcement professionals to fulfill many roles. While the list of responsibilities thrust upon law enforcement continues to grow, the number of reliable tools and resources at their disposal is dwindling. Today, law enforcement professionals are consistently asked to do more with less – less time, less budget, less reliable data. And for these professionals and the communities they serve, the repercussions can be significant.
The problems law enforcement agencies face are complex, and there is no quick fix or one-size-fits-all solution, but many contributing issues can be mitigated and improved by having access to the right technology.
Let’s take a closer look at five of the key challenges currently plaguing law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and how the right public record searching tools can help.
1. Time constraints
At many law enforcement agencies, current investigative techniques are outdated and inefficient. Consequently, investigators are often forced to search multiple databases and cobble information together – with no way to know if the data they find is current or accurate.
Thankfully, there is a better way. Today, technology can greatly reduce the amount of time it takes to find and verify information. With the click of a few buttons, officers can quickly get the information they need to further their investigations and keep themselves and the communities they serve safer.
2. Data currency concerns
The internet and Google are great for many things. However, information found online can be outdated and incomplete. To be successful, law enforcement needs access to timely and accurate information.
With the right tools, law enforcement can access and search thousands of the most up-to-date public and proprietary records. What’s more, customized search perimeters and filters can be used to create user-friendly dashboards that bring the most relevant results to the forefront.
3. Transparency questions
The blessing and curse of the internet is that anyone can publish content. This means that information that lives on the internet may be from unreliable parties or sources with hidden agendas. For law enforcement, relying largely on information found via the web can be dangerous – opening a Pandora’s box where misinformation becomes the cornerstone of investigations.
To weed out unreliable information, investigators need insight into data sources. Knowing where information is coming from allows users to proceed with confidence. This level of transparency ensures that only the best and most reliable data is being used in official investigations.
4. Lack of context
A big part of law enforcement’s job is to quickly evaluate information and connect the dots. However, the sheer volume of information available via public records searches often makes this crucial step difficult. Investigators need a way to quickly gain insight and context so they can determine if and how seemingly disparate data points are connected.
Technology makes it easier to search for data, get better results, and make key connections. By choosing the right tools, law enforcement can quickly obtain the context they need to avoid frustrating and time-consuming dead ends.
5. Budget constraints
Throughout the country, law enforcement agencies are facing deep budget cuts. According to the Police Executive Research Forum, such cuts are affecting everything from hiring and training to equipment reserves. The result? Law enforcement personnel are being asked to do more with less – stretching many to their limit.
Given these challenges, relying on old ways of investigating becomes especially inefficient. More than ever, every minute devoted to gathering information needs to bear fruitful results. With the right technology, law enforcement can reduce the amount of time spent investigating matters and aid in the detection of the most advantageous information.
The future of technology in law enforcement
As the job of law enforcement continues to evolve, so too must the tools upon which they rely. Having ready access to the right data allows personnel to gain a better understanding of the situations they are walking into – empowering them to make informed decisions that foster a greater sense of trust and benefit their communities.
Learn more about how your agency can use technology to aid in investigations.