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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Essay on Emerging Technology and Law Enforcement

INSTRUCTIONS:  Unit 8: Short Paper: Emerging Technologies With the advent of various technological advancements, law enforcement efforts in the investigation and prosecution of crime have been met with positive results. However, with every advantage comes a disadvantage. Criminals
have also benefited from these technologies and use the same advancements that law enforcement employs during the commission of their crimes, or as a tool for their crimes (this is evidenced in
computer-related offenses and the misuse of the Internet). In a 3 page paper (excluding title and reference pages), address the following areas in full detail: summarize the advantages of computers/software and the use of computer technology in investigations, summarize the
disadvantages to law enforcement with respect to the advancements of computers, research a case where the computer was used to aid in the commission of a crime, research a case where the use of the computer was beneficial to the prosecution in a criminal case, and provide a final conclusion/paragraph that addresses your subjective opinion as to whether these technologies, in an overall sense, are of benefit or a hindrance to law enforcement efforts.

Essay on Emerging Technology and Law Enforcement
            The continued advances in technology have indeed provided substantial benefits in the field of law enforcement. Technological advances allows the police force to carry out their daily work with ease as it equips them with enforcement and investigative devices that makes them not just well-informed but more effective as well. However, the computer technology has also been the cause of various crimes that encompasses a range of offenses that affects businesses, consumers, and the society in general (McQuade, 2013, p.1). This being said, technology poses both as a positive and negative element in law enforcement efforts.

            Perhaps, one of the major benefits of technology lies in the fact that they support law enforcement functions such as crime investigation, dispatch, information sharing, and record management among many others. For example, more than 90 percent of law enforcement agencies now have the capability to access automated fingerprint identification system (AFIS) via infield computers. In addition to this, police officers can now also take hold of other information such as criminal history records, warrants, driving records, and vehicle records through interagency information sharing technology. The easy transmission of data allows the police force to quickly check the background of a dubious figure, determine the identity of an individual, as well as check the legal status of a person. This then makes investigation and law enforcement more accurate, efficient, and effective (Roberts, 2013, p.1).

            Another benefit offered by technology is evident in field or during their street patrol. A growing number of police departments are now configuring their patrol cars with video cameras and other digital mobile devices such as laptop, navigation system, multi-band radios RADAR, and automated license plate reader. This makes allows the police officer to become “wired” as it enables a timely submission of important data. Similarly, this also provides law enforcers greater visibility and view of the entire community (Roberts, 2013, p.1).

            Along with the benefits of technology, the same advances can also be detrimental as it can also be utilized by criminals in carrying out offences.  Crimes facilitated through technology include identity theft, hacking, fraud, and extortion among many others. According to recent reports, organized crimes are expanding their exploitation as they target individuals and various businesses that rely heavily on e-commerce and on-line storage (CIS, 2013, p.1).

            Accordingly, criminals are also using the Internet to send malicious programs or malwares, viruses, and spam emails. Similarly, hackers are now also illicitly using the World Wide Web to traffic and redirect the user to a particular site unknowingly. What is even more alarming is that criminals exploit the vulnerable of the Internet by stealing financial information and use it for their own gain (CIS, 2013, p.1).

            Based on the points provided, it is apparent how technology offers bot advantages and disadvantages in law enforcement in such a way that while they improve the efficiency of the police, it also serves as a tool for criminals to carry out their illegal activities. Despite of this however, it is important to note that the benefit of technology outweighs its disadvantages. Although it is true that criminals are now using technology, the law enforcers could similarly use this advancement not just in tracing criminals but more significantly, it can also be used to hinder criminal activities. The point here is despite the downside of technology it can still be improved and used to properly implement the law.

McQuade, S. (2013). “Technology-enabled Crime, Policing and Security”. Virginia Tech.
Retrieved 10 July 2013 from
Roberts, D. (2013). “Technology is Playing an Expanded Role in Policing”. The Police Chief.
Retrieved 10 July 2013 from
“Technology and Crime”. (2013). Criminal Intelligence Service. Retrieved 10 July 2013, from

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