By Mike French | December 1, 2022
Real Time Networks has engaged extensively with law enforcement professionals during AssetTracer and KeyTracer deployments over the past year. Our team has observed ongoing trends, law enforcement concerns, and goals that are likely to shape the near future of policing.
This article explores some of the trends our experts, and law enforcement contacts expect to influence police work in 2024 significantly. We usually emphasize smart technology, which touches many of these predicted trends. But, as always, remember, the point of smart technology is not the tech but the people and organizations that use it. Policing technology will only ever be as valuable as the processes it supports. And in law enforcement, that means serving and engaging with their communities.
2024 technology trends policing
Predictive policing in 2024 will continue to leverage advanced algorithms and data analysis to forecast potential criminal activity. Using predictive policing, law enforcement agencies feed historical crime, patrol, and other data into analytical tools to predict areas and times of potential increased crime in the near future.
These predictions guide resource allocation and deployment, optimizing patrols and interventions. However, evolving ethical considerations and efforts to ensure fairness and equity will be central to developing and applying new predictive policing technologies in 2024.
Artificial Intelligence (AI) in policing
AI will expand its influence in law enforcement. In 2024, AI-driven tools will support various policing activities, from facial recognition for suspect identification to analyzing complex regional crime data sets for unseen patterns. AI will also assist in crime prediction, monitoring CCTV feeds, and, increasingly, automating routine tasks like report generation.
Extended Reality (XR) applications in policing
Extended Reality (XR) is the collective name for virtual and augmented reality systems. We can expect many new applications for these types of systems in both police training and investigations. XR technologies will be used to create simulated scenarios that train officers in handling different situations, improving decision-making skills. In investigations, augmented reality tools allow for reconstructing crime scenes, analyzing evidence, and enhancing forensic processes.
Advancements in Police Equipment and Gear
In 2024, police equipment will undergo significant upgrades. From advanced body-worn cameras with real-time streaming capabilities to improved non-lethal weaponry, officers will be equipped with high-tech gear to enhance all aspects of LEO and public safety. Furthermore, wearables and smart protective gear, such as connected vests or helmets with biometric monitoring and communication features, will become more prevalent, ensuring better situational awareness and safety for officers on duty.
Policy trends in 2024 policing
Geofence warrants will continue to be a subject of debate. These warrants, allowing law enforcement to collect location-based data from tech companies for specific time frames and areas, raise questions about constitutional rights. The balance between effective crime investigation and citizens' privacy rights will become a pivotal focus in legal discussions, policy development, and many local elections.
Police accountability in 2024
Enhanced police accountability measures continue to shape policing. In 2024, the emphasis will remain on transparency, oversight, and effective mechanisms to hold law enforcement accountable for their actions. Increased use of body-worn cameras, accessible public records, and strengthened civilian oversight boards will play essential roles in ensuring accountability and reinforcing trust between law enforcement and the community.
Criminal justice reform
Continued efforts for criminal justice reform in 2024 will concentrate on reshaping sentencing policies, growing local reentry programs to help incarcerated individuals find a place in society, and addressing systemic inequalities. Diversion programs for non-violent offenders and restorative justice approaches also gain prominence, fostering rehabilitation over punitive measures.
Improving police recruitment and retention
Staffing projections show recruiting and retaining law enforcement officers will continue to be challenged in 2024. Agencies must explore innovative strategies to attract qualified candidates and retain experienced personnel. Many will need to focus on competitive salary structures, enhanced benefits, diverse recruitment tactics, and community engagement programs that aim to bolster recruitment and retention efforts.
Diversity in law enforcement
Law enforcement agencies across North America will emphasize increasing the diversity of their staff in 2024. Specifically, they will actively seek to diversify their workforce to reflect the communities they serve better. Diversity will be encouraged in hiring. We will see more promotion of inclusivity and cultural competency training. These are key elements in fostering a diverse and representative police force.
Mental health and policing
In 2024, there will be an increasing recognition of just how challenging is the intersection between mental health issues and law enforcement. We will need to see more and more efforts focused on specialized training for officers in triaging mental health crises in the field and the de-escalation techniques necessary to minimize harm to unwell individuals and the public. Collaborations between law enforcement and mental health professionals are evolving today to ensure a more compassionate and effective response to crisis-prone individuals.
Police training and education
Enhanced training and education for law enforcement will be pivotal topics in 2024. Agencies are investing today in comprehensive and ongoing training programs, focusing on various topics, including de-escalation techniques, bias recognition, community engagement, and the ethical use of new technologies. Training will be adapted to be more practical and scenario-based, preparing officers for the diverse challenges they may encounter in the field.
Great strides have been made in this area across North America, but much more that LEAs know must be done. Law enforcement agencies will concentrate on improving communication, transparency, and community outreach initiatives. Collaborative initiatives, such as town hall meetings, citizen academies, and community advisory boards, will all be considered by LEAs of different sizes. All are designed to bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community they serve.
Evolving community policing models
Community policing models will remain at the forefront of policing approaches in 2024. Agencies will aim to strengthen community ties, employing problem-solving strategies and partnerships with residents to address public safety concerns. Proactive engagement with communities will help identify and address the root causes of crime.
Ongoing policing in a post-pandemic world
As society adjusts to a post-pandemic world, policing in 2024 will continue to adapt to new challenges and changing community dynamics. Agencies will focus on restoring and reshaping public safety measures, reevaluating emergency response protocols, and incorporating pandemic-induced changes into long-term policing strategies.
The future is connected policing
In examining the trends we see defining law enforcement in 2024, it becomes clear that the primary aim of forward-thinking law enforcement agencies will be to foster closer relationships among law enforcement professionals and the communities they serve. Effective law enforcement policies and technologies should act as bridges, uniting rather than dividing people.
When implemented thoughtfully, each trend highlighted in our discussion can impact law enforcement significantly and positively. However, the responsibility to make these advancements work lies with law enforcement leaders and their collaborative partners.
Future law enforcement leaders must harness the full spectrum of tools to succeed. This includes recruiting suitable personnel, embracing effective policing models, and adopting suitable tools and technology. By integrating these resources effectively, a promising future awaits law enforcement.
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CEO at Real Time Networks