Police Technologies Term Paper

Pages: 7 (2059 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 9  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

¶ … technologies used by the police. After reading through the paper, the reader will be well acquainted with the different methods and technologies being used today and for what reasons. Generally this paper covers the technologies used by the law enforcing agencies of the United States and overviews how the past and present governments of the United States helped in delivering the best of equipment to the law enforcing authorities.

An institution that enforces law and order in a country is highly vital to ensure a peaceful community where people feel secure. Such an institution is internationally known as "Police." Traveling from the past to the present, we see a change in the technologies used by the criminals and the different methods that they used to hinder law enforcement agencies from being successful in apprehending them. This required a change in the mode of investigation of the police department. Newer technologies were needed to ensure an efficient and successful system to enforce law without which the police would otherwise not be able to solve many crimes.


DNA Testing

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Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is the basic hereditary material that is organized into the chromosomes present in the nucleus of the cells of any man or animal. Just how two fingerprints do not match when taken from two subjects, similarly the DNA sequence of one person cannot match the DNA of another. Thus DNA testing is a method highly efficient in tracing out the criminal or victim.

DNA samples are taken from bloodstains, hair, or semen found at the crime scene. These samples are then compared to the DNA of the victim. If they are different from the victim's DNA, they are then compared to the crime suspects. DNA testing has proven to be one of the most efficient ways to fight crime. Two important uses of the technology are the apprehension of rapists and serial killers.

Term Paper on Police Technologies Assignment

An example is seen when Virginia started to test and catalogue DNA evidence of convicts that were involved in violent felonies. Virginia started this in 1989 and since then they have approximately 200,000 DNA samples in their database. This effective method helped them solve more than 1100 old crimes that were previously unsolved. (Jerry W. Kilgore p.28)

Attorney General John Ashcroft said yesterday that the Justice Department, facing a growing backlog of cases, will seek more than $1 billion during the next five years to increase DNA testing in an effort to 'breathe new life into long-dormant investigations.'

It will allow us to conduct DNA analysis of more offender samples. It will solve more crimes through efficient and effective use of DNA -improved technology,' Mr. Ashcroft said at a press conference after a meeting with President Bush. 'It will help us identify missing persons through enhanced DNA methods and techniques. And it will help exonerate individuals who are wrongfully accused or wrongly convicted of crimes.'

Mr. Ashcroft said Mr. Bush had proposed a $232.6 million federal-funding item for fiscal 2004 for the initiative, continuing that level of funding during the next five years." (Washington Times, 2003)

DNA testing is gathering increased support from lawmakers each day. There is no longer any reason to question the reliability of DNA evidence. The Senate Judiciary Committee had also approved a bill in 2002 to provide DNA testing to federal death-row inmates. Work is also being done to expand into "Mitochondrial DNA testing." This form of testing, though very expensive, will enable the analysis of evidence almost destroyed by burning or other methods. It studies the mitochondrial DNA that is sometimes found in a strand of hair and is superior to conventional testing as it can differentiate between hair and bone samples whereas conventional testing can only be used with blood or semen samples. Although some do oppose the use of mitochondrial DNA testing, there have been incidents where courts have accepted its results as authentic evidence. No doubt mitochondrial DNA testing is a step forward in the evolution chain of DNA testing.

Concealed Weapons Detection System concealed weapon detector in essence measures the electromagnetic radiation emitted by all objects. It then analyses it and converts the readings into a visible form. This provides better surveillance capabilities. A device known as "Millivision" goes to the extent of revealing any material made out of plastic, metal, liquid or ceramics. This is helpful in order to reveal any plastic explosive that a person might be carrying. Icing on the cake is that this detection is regardless of the number of layers of clothing and can even detect through materials commonly used in home construction including wood and plaster. (Richard S. Julie p.127)

Brijot Imaging Systems, Inc. produced a millimeter wave camera that uses millimeter wave sensor technology, which detects concealed weapons. It can detect weapons whether metal, plastic or composite. It provides a real-time video output, which eliminates the general public's concern regarding privacy issues. Up to 50 simultaneous threats can be identified upon which an alarm is triggered. (News Story)

Devices like Radar Flashlights are also being used by law enforcement agencies widely. Although not really a concealed "weapon" detector, this device is more of a concealed "Human" detector and it detects the slightest movements like respiration behind objects e.g. A wall. It would prove useful in a wide range of situations from ambushes to hostage situations. Such a device is also useful in locating survivors after natural disasters.

President Clinton had recognized the threat that offenders with concealed weapons posed to society and thus he directed the Department of Justice to develop and prepare improved technologies. In 2001, the Senate approved a bill collectively to tighten the security at airports as well as on airlines.

The National Institute of Justice is planning to conduct a study on measures that can be taken to screen and stem drug proliferation through mail. The purpose of this study is effectively control drug supply entering correctional facilities.

Automated Fingerprint Identification System

Originally used by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Automated Fingerprint Identification System carries out the task of obtaining, storing and analyzing fingerprint data using digital imaging technology. Intended to deal with criminal cases, it now is used primarily for the prevention of fraud.

It maintains the largest biometric database in the world, which includes the fingerprints as well as the corresponding criminal history of more than 47 million subjects. State, local, and federal law enforcement agencies submit the fingerprints and corresponding criminal history information voluntarily. (FBI website)

This system of fingerprint detection allows million of fingerprints to be compared daily and as many law enforcement agencies have experienced remarkable success with "Automated Fingerprint Identification System," it is used widely and does not fear discontinuation.

Computers in Patrol Cars

This new technology helps increase the efficiency of the Police Department. Previously to check license plates, insurance violations etc. The police personnel on the field relied on the radio dispatcher at the headquarters. The radio dispatcher checked the information required and then relayed back the information to the field.

With the installation of computers in patrol cars, this traditional time consuming method is now becoming obsolete. Police personnel on the field can easily access the National Criminal Information Center and get any information within seconds.

It now takes at least two minutes for D.C. police dispatchers to provide that information, Officer Carolyn Campbell, communications division senior instructor, said. She said that now about half of the dispatchers' time is spent checking tags and licenses.

It will also reduce the amount of talking on police radios, which suspects can overhear.

It will get us down to a whisper,' said Officer Campbell, who is teaching officers to use the equipment. 'It will free up the dispatchers to take care of higher priority calls. They'll be able to spend more time on each call.'" (Jim Keary p.6)

In 1996, the U.S. Justice Department had given the D.C. police a $6 million grant to complete installation of computers in police cruisers and enable officers to process criminals at each of the city's seven police districts. (Washington Times 1996)

It is seen that police all over the United States is being equipped with more computers in their patrol cars. In 2000, Lisle Police was allocated $85,700 in the budget draft, to be used for squad cars equipped with radar and data computers.


Alcohol abuse is one of the worst problems that the whole world is facing. The youth is being pulled towards this disease on a daily basis. Apart from all the known medical complications that alcoholism can give rise to, road accidents is another aspect that needs attention due to driving under the influence of alcohol. "During 2003, 17,013 people in the U.S. died in alcohol-related motor vehicle crashes, representing 40% of all traffic-related deaths" (Impaired Driving Fact Sheet)

To prevent any accidents may it be alcohol poisoning or "drunk driving," the police needs to be able to detect a person who has consumed alcohol. A breath tester enables the police to… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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