Building and Enhancing Digital Trust

Technology is ubiquitous in public safety. Technological devices, artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and other data-driven solutions are increasingly being used to augment crime reduction strategies and solve crimes. New and emerging technologies can provide immeasurable technical, tactical, and outcome benefits to law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Agencies have deployed them to identify innovative and evidence-based solutions to chronic crime challenges, enhance partnerships and services, and enhance public safety. They can also play an integral role in automating processes and increasing efficiencies, so that officers can spend more time in their communities.

What is Digital Trust?

“Digital trust” is the understanding between public safety agencies and the communities they serve to leverage necessary technologies in ways that will be demonstrably effective and efficient and reduce the degree of coercive force needed to achieve lawful objectives. There are important internal and external components of building and enhancing digital trust, and it is critical that law enforcement agencies address these topics.

Building and enhancing digital trust must be accomplished in ways that assess and address privacy, civil rights, civil liberties, and Constitutional protections. Each technology should be carefully discussed with the community and, if agreed to, implemented with attention paid to the training of personnel and enforcement of policies governing the use and safeguarding of data to contribute to positive outcomes for public safety, the community, and the criminal justice system.

What is the Building and Enhancing Digital Trust Electronic Toolkit?

The National Policing Institute, in collaboration with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), created the Building and Enhancing Digital Trust electronic toolkit to provide agencies and communities with a clearinghouse of resources; identify emerging trends, promising practices, and model programs that address digital trust; provide virtual and on-site reviews of existing department policies and procedures; and, aide in the development of customized training and technical assistance that ensures the protection of privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.

Resources by Topic

The National Policing Institute compiles resources produced by various criminal justice organizations, academics and researchers, practitioners, and community stakeholder organizations. We provide publications, web resources, multimedia, and information that provide guidance to law enforcement to build and enhance digital trust internally and with their communities.

Gunshot Detection Technology

Gun violence is one of the primary concerns for law enforcement agencies and community members nationwide. In an effort to more-quickly identify and respond to gun violence, and assist in their evidence-collection and investigations, many agencies have successfully leveraged gunshot detection technology (GDT). GDT uses acoustic-sensing devices to automatically detect, verify, and notify law enforcement of the approximate locations and times of firearm discharges.

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Automated Lincense Plate Reader Technology

Recent data has shown that at least 80% of adults in the US drive a car at least several times per week. This is particularly true is smaller and rural jurisdictions, where vehicles often serve as the primary method of transportation, in lieu of public transportation. Automated license plate readers (ALPR) use a combination of cameras to capture images of the license plates of every vehicle that drive by and computer software to quickly convert those images into alphanumeric characters and data files.

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Cameras and Video Evidence Technology

Today, it is estimated that video evidence is involved in about 80% of crimes. As smart phones, smart devices and security systems, car cameras, commercial drones, and other devices that record videos reduce in cost they increase in ubiquity in protecting business and private property and recording potential incidents. Law enforcement can use video evidence from the array of personal, business, and agency cameras to protect property; aid in investigations; and, promote transparency and accountability. Video evidence is any form of video used to inform law enforcement investigations. These videos can then be used by prosecutors as admissible evidence in a court of law.

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Digital Data & Evidence Technology

Technological advancements and the proliferation of personal devices such as smartphones, tablets, and laptops have changed how we work, travel, and communicate on a daily basis. Digital evidence is information or electronic data created, stored, or transmitted of value to an investigation that is stored on, received by, or transmitted by an electronic device. These digital data and evidence present a potential treasure trove of valuable information that investigators can use to further investigations and solve crimes.

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Machine Learning Technology

As technology evolves and becomes an increasing part of our daily lives, the amount of potential data and evidence for law enforcement to view, process, and use to inform decisions has increased exponentially. Machine learning is an application of artificial intelligence (AI) that uses advanced data analytics to improve systems processing and outcomes. Machine learning models offer agencies a way to use pattern analysis to proactively enhance public safety.

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Additional Resources

Publications

Biometric Technology

Biometrics are the unique and measurable biological (fingerprints, palm prints, voice prints, retinas, facial features, blood and DNA, etc.) and behavioral (personality and actions) information that is specific to an individual or small group of individuals. Biological biometrics are generally the same over the course of a person’s life and are generally hard to fake, steal, or transfer between people. Bio-tech takes an individual’s measurable biological and behavioral characteristics and compares it to a network of known biometric data within that system. Bio-tech is primarily used for identification and/or access control purposes or for identifying individuals.

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Geographic-Tracking Devices Technology

Technological advancements, including the widespread use of geo-location and geo-tracking devices, has simplified and expedited the task of tracking criminal activity and locating persons of interest and criminals for questioning or arrest. In addition to familiar technology such as, Global Positioning Systems (GPS), law enforcement agencies have access to other devices to locate and track items and individuals, known as geo-tracking devices. Geo-tracking devices are electronic devices that use satellites and wireless signals to track the physical location of people and objects in a specific timeframe.

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