No Technology Adoption Decision Should Be Made Lightly

There has been a lot of talk about leveraging technology to improve policing in law enforcement and with great cause. The rise of technology and the solutions it has introduced would have staggered us just a few years ago. Nonetheless, agencies and departments should not adopt carelessly nor thoughtlessly.

  1. Know Your Needs from a Broad Perspective: To start, you should know with confidence what your needs are. Your needs may be similar to the rest of the nation’s needs, or they may be slightly different. If you aren’t sure exactly what your needs are, consider using the following three questions used by a RAND research report, High-Priority Information Technology Needs for Law Enforcement (Jan 2015) which sought with its study to learn what law enforcement agencies around the country are right now.
  1. What are the law enforcement community’s most pressing needs related to information technology?
  2. What are the common themes in those needs?
  3. What are promising ways ahead to address those needs?
  1. Do You Lack Sharing, Displaying or Effective Use Capabilities? The study’s findings showed that one of the biggest gaps in law enforcement includes a lack in solutions which provide sharing, displaying and using information effectively. The specific findings were as follows:
  • “Enabling the sharing of information across law enforcement systems is a difficult problem — technically, organizationally, and commercially.
  • Information-sharing efforts to date have had limited coverage and can be inconsistent with each other. Further, it is difficult for new developers and users to learn about all of the available information-sharing tools and technologies.
  • Tools that display situational awareness information to law enforcement users at all levels are lacking.
  • In addition to sharing information within law enforcement, there is a need to improve mechanisms for communicating with the public.”
  1. Ask These Important Before We Adopt Questions: The Wall Street Journal did a series on what to know before you adopt and in one of their articles, they talk to Wayne Mekjan and ask him for the top three considerations a company should make before adopting a new technology. Mekjian offers the following:
  1. Is now the right time to make a change? “ Sometimes technology doesn’t live up to its hype straight out of the gate, so it’s better to wait. Other times, technology is changing at such a rapid pace that it may be outdated by the time you fully deploy it. Timing is really critical when you think about implementing something new into your organization.”
  2. If we’re replacing something, is it still needed? “You should spend time considering if this product is still worth having, if there are others ways of doing something, or if there are a few products already in use that can do something similar.”
  3. Can I see how it performs? Take time to “battle test any new product or service coming into your company. Does it perform at the scale you need today as well as tomorrow? Does it meet the highest levels of your security practices?”

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