LE’s Tech Conference: A Dispatch

The hottest topics were, not surprisingly, some of the thorniest issues

By Dale Stockton  |   May 21, 2015

The annual International Association of Chiefs of Police Law Enforcement Information Management (IACP LEIM) Conference just ended in San Diego and there were some pretty strong indicators of what’s important and emerging in the world of police technology.

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman welcomed attendees to the IACP LEIM conference and shared details of her department's rollout of body worn cameras. Photo Dale Stockton

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman welcomed attendees to the IACP LEIM conference and shared details of her department’s rollout of body worn cameras. Photo Dale Stockton

The conference is essentially a technology conference for law enforcement. Those who go are an eclectic mix of badge-carrying tech practitioners and IT administrators who work with public safety. This year, more than 600 attendees attended three days of multi-track sessions where subject matter experts and panels addressed a variety of subjects.

Hot Topics
The tech topic garnering the highest level of interest and discussion was clearly the body-worn camera (BWC). No fewer than six seminars specifically addressed various aspects of BWC use by law enforcement, and many animated lunch and hallway conversations centered on the challenges of rolling out a BWC program.

The evolution and explosive expansion of BWC use is unlike anything previously seen in law enforcement and there are many more questions than answers right now. Here’s some (but certainly not all) of what you need to consider:

  • Engagement with officers regarding purpose and expectations;
  • Privacy impacts (for officers and the public);
  • Compatibility and potential synergy with in-car equipment (if applicable);
  • Camera features and capability including pre-event record, low-light, resolution, mounting options, ease of use and system management software;
  • Costs, especially long-term relevant to sustainment and storage;
  • Court and DA input and expectations;
  • Ability to easily (or automatically) tag relevant video with incident-specific metadata;
  • Onsite or cloud storage;
  • Data security;
  • Policy, including scope and purpose, should precede program rollout; and
  • This great resource from Bureau of Justice Assistance.

Other hot topics at the IACP LEIM conference included big data, unmanned aircraft systems, predictive policing, mobile applications and autonomous vehicles. All come with unique, manifold challenges.

Finally, this conference saw the launch of the new IACP Cyber Security Center, which was developed in conjunction with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, the RAND Corporation and the Police Executive Research Forum. It’s designed to address three principal areas: cyber-crime investigation, digital forensics and information systems security. 

There’s plenty of opportunity to expand policing capabilities by leveraging tech as a force multiplier. Due diligence should be the rule though. You’ll end up with a more effective program and more productive personnel by doing your homework.