Five Fascinating Police Technologies that Really Exist

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Image via Flickr by West Midlands Police

Those considering a career in law enforcement will be pleasantly surprised at the growing role of technology in police work. Remarkable new digital technologies are transforming the ways police “protect and serve” allowing agencies to prevent crimes more effectively and solve crimes faster.

Seemingly plucked from a science fiction novel and transplanted into our police departments, some of these technologies are difficult to believe. From flying drones to wearable electronics, here are five astonishing technologies transforming how police work.

Flying Police Drones


Image via Flickr by unten44

Law enforcement authorities use drones for a variety of functions providing cost-effective solutions to help agencies in potentially dangerous situations. Like a scene from a blockbuster movie, unmanned drones roam the skies helping in everything from rescue missions, patrolling boarders to aiding in finding lost children.  As the technological capabilities of drones increase, look for their use by law enforcement to expand into gathering key information about crimes as they unfold.

Predictive-Analytics Software


Image via Flickr by West Midlands Police

Imagine police being able to predict where and what time the next crime will probably occur. No, this is not the plot of a new network crime drama. It is real technology used by law enforcement to find criminal patterns and behaviors. The program, PredPol, allows police departments to estimate when and where specific crimes will probably occur and engage their officers accordingly. Using this technology, police agencies have seen efficiencies in staffing shifts and dramatic cuts in crime.

Brain Fingerprinting


Image via Flickr by A Health Blog

Establishing guilt or innocence based on scanning brainwaves? Brainwave Science, has developed technology that helps police do just that.  Brain fingerprinting uses brain scans to capture how a crime suspect’s brain reacts when being questioned by police and determines whether a person being questioned remembers a particular item or situation. Police are then able to potentially identify or eliminate suspects based on these scan results.

Handheld Fingerprint Scanners


Image via Flickr by West Midlands Police

The days of suspects only being fingerprinted with the standard messy, black ink pads are over.  Police officers are now able to use portable, handheld scanners to instantly fingerprint and identify persons with criminal records. With instant access to a suspect’s criminal history, these handheld devices save police enormous time during initial bookings and reduce the amount of wrongful arrests.

Google Glass


Image via Flickr by Ted Eytan

Next time you are speeding down the highway – beware! Using software especially designed for Google Glass, police officers take photographs of traffic violations and instantly upload them to their police department’s system.  The photograph captures the date, time and place that the picture was taken along with the license plate number. So watch out!  Even if the police don’t catch you, that speeding ticket may still be in the mail. 

These five examples illustrate how technology has ushered in a great period of change in the profession of law enforcement.  To the extent police technology continues to evolve, it is also creating new opportunities for those interested in the policing profession. Although these advances allow police departments to run more efficiently, they also increase the need for compassionate, analytical, creative thinkers able to use technology to protect and serve their communities. Learn more about the University of Cincinnati Online Master of Science in Criminal Justice program.