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Common Operational Picture Technology in Law Enforcement: Three Case Studies

NCJ Number
Zoë Thorkildsen; Emma Wohl; Bridgette Bryson; Jennifer Lafferty; Jessica Dockstader
Date Published
December 2019
41 pages
This project developed case studies of common operational picture (COP) technology used in three law enforcement agencies, with the goal of addressing the paucity of research in this field by providing practitioners and researchers with examples of how these law enforcement agencies have implemented and used these technologies.
Although COP has many definitions, the current report relies on the following definition developed with the National Institute of Justice (NIJ): "A presentation of relevant information (e.g., the location and what is known about a criminal incident, the location and operational status of an agency's patrol units, and the duty status of officers) that is shared by the different components and levels of an agency or partnering agencies." COP technology gives law enforcement and public safety response partners the capacity to develop shared situational awareness during large-scale, serious, or critical incidents to support effective, efficient, and timely coordination and decisionmaking. For the current study, interviews were conducted in the Baton Rouge Police Department, the Camden County Police Department, and Chicago Police Department. Although each agency incorporates COP technology uniquely in its jurisdiction, common themes emerged regarding stakeholders, COP technology implementation, and the use of certain COP technology features. These themes are examined in this cross-site analysis. The challenges and successes identified may be useful to other agencies in their own missions. The report notes, however, that additional research is needed. 15 references