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Pillar 3 — Technology and Social Media

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EPPD school liaison imageThe use of technology can improve policing practices and build community trust and legitimacy, but its implementation must be built on a defined policy framework with its purposes and goals clearly delineated. Implementing new technologies can give police departments an opportunity to fully engage and educate communities in a dialogue about their expectations for transparency, accountability and privacy.

Law enforcement agencies and leaders need to be able to identify, assess and evaluate new technology for adoption and do so in ways that improve their effectiveness, efficiency and evolution without infringing on individual rights. Addressing technology challenges by using research, accumulated knowledge and practical experiences can help agencies reach their goals.

Social media is a communication tool police can use to engage the community on issues of importance and to gauge community sentiment regarding agency policies and practices. While technology is crucial to law enforcement, it is never a panacea. Its use can have unintended consequences for both the organization and the community it serves, which may limit its potential. Therefore, agencies need clearly defined policies related to technology, and must pay close attention to community concerns about its use.

Recommendation Description
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3.1

The U.S. Department of Justice, in consultation with the law enforcement field, should broaden the efforts of the National Institute of Justice to establish national standards for the research and development of new technology. These standards should also address compatibility and interoperability needs both within law enforcement agencies and across agencies and jurisdictions and maintain civil and human rights protections.

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3.2

The implementation of appropriate technology by law enforcement agencies should be designed considering local needs and aligned with national standards.

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3.3

The U.S. Department of Justice should develop best practices that can be adopted by state legislative bodies to govern the acquisition, use, retention, and dissemination of auditory, visual, and biometric data by law enforcement.

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3.4

Federal, state, local, and tribal legislative bodies should be encouraged to update public record laws.

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3.5

Law enforcement agencies should adopt model policies and best practices for technology-based community engagement that increases community trust and access.

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3.6

The Federal Government should support the development of new “less than lethal” technology to help control combative suspects.

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How the Eden Prairie Police Department Demonstrates Use of Technology and Social Media