Technology and Organizations

Technological advancements have had far-reaching effects on modern policing. From the early development of motorized patrol cars, two-way radio communications, and computer aided dispatch to the recent development of information technology systems, video surveillance, body worn cameras, license plate readers, analytic systems, forensics technologies, and the like, technology has shaped law enforcement organizations and is believed to hold great promise for reducing crime and improving police-community relations.

Yet, what these impacts are and whether these objectives are achieved remains under-researched for many technologies. For example, will body worn cameras actually improve police accountability or legitimacy? Will analytic or forensics technologies increase police effectiveness (however defined)? What are the unintended consequences of these technologies, and are those consequences harmful to communities or agencies? Developing a better understanding of how and why technologies affect law enforcement processes and outcomes—either positively or negatively—can help build a better evidence-base for decisions about technology adoption and use.