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The Role of Technology in the Strategies for Policing Innovation Program: Challenges, Solutions, and Lessons Learned -- Hardware Edition

NCJ Number
Date Published
November 2019
15 pages

This is the first in a two-part series that highlights technologys role in the U.S. Justice Departments Bureau of Justice Assistances (BJAs) Strategies for Policing Innovation (SPI) initiative (now known as the Smart Policing Initiative), with the focus in this report being hardware technologies.


The report features case studies of three SPI sites whose initiatives implemented three different hardware technologies: body-worn cameras (Phoenix, Arizona), closed-circuit television (Pullman, Washington), and gunshot location and detection systems (East Palo Alto, California). Each case study describes the technology, the SPI site project goals, and the implementation of the innovation. The general benefits of the technologies across sites are identified as the more efficient deployment of limited resources, improved understanding of high-crime places and people, and positive organizational impacts. Examples of positive contributions of each technology are noted. Lessons learned in implementing and measuring the impact of each technology on police work are also discussed. The report concludes that the case studies reviewed demonstrate two important points about the effective use of technology, which is a central component of SPI. First, hardware technologies such as body-worn cameras, closed-circuit television, and gunshot detection system have both promise and challenges. Agency leaders should proceed cautiously, considering the consequences and costs of deploying a particular technology. As with any innovation, implementation must be based in a collaborative planning process. Second, the technologies examined have benefitted the SPI agencies in several ways, including more efficient deployment of resources in addressing crime-prone people and places.

Date Published: November 1, 2019