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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 78872 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Use and Impact of Police Computer Technology
Author(s): K W Colton
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 36
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 76-NI-99-0043
Sale Source: National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Pro and con arguments regarding the development of law enforcement computer technology are assessed and a future perspective suggested.
Abstract: Most arguments against the wholesale application of computer technology to law enforcement are related to the charge that too much money is currently being spent in this area without it being clear that the benefits of such technology justify the costs. A review of the uses of computer technology in law enforcement, however, shows that in many routine applications the benefits can justify the costs, particularly if benefits are identified in narrow process-oriented terms. Further, this efficiency may continue to develop as computer technology becomes more sophisticated and police departments become more proficient at handling the organizational and behavioral problems that often accompany the introduction of technology and change implementation. The police use of computer technology, however, should be placed in perspective. It would be a mistake to believe that computer technology will assume a major role in revolutionizing police work. Some of the most pressing law enforcement issues -- defining the basic police task, identifying how officers' time should be spent, determining the correct allocation of resources, and deciding if current recruiting and training practices complement the needs and priorities of law enforcement -- must be addressed apart from computer technology. Computer technology may help to implement policy decisions in these areas, but without creative policymaking the computer can only reinforce the status quo and indirectly counter innovation. Future computer use should emphasize evaluation and implementation, performance standards and transfer, and appreciation of the broad role police should fulfill in meeting community needs. Exhibits portray the application of computer technology to various law enforcement areas. A total of 28 footnotes are listed. (Author abstract modified)
Index Term(s): Computer aided operations; Critiques; Impact prediction; Police information systems; Police management; Services effectiveness
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