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The Commission advocated federal government funding for state and local criminal justice agencies to support their efforts.It called for what soon became the 911 system for fielding emergency calls and recommended that agencies acquire computers to automate their functions.The vehicle for much of this activity is the NIJ-sponsored National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC), a network of national, regional, and special purpose offices.
A final observation addresses the issue of inadequate funding to support technology development for state and local police and of the necessity to provide a stable budget as a matter of highest national priority. It took nerve to be a policeman in those days." So reported Chief Francis O'Neill of the Chicago Police Department in 1903.
Through this report and these observations, we hope to accelerate the process by which the police finally become full beneficiaries of our eras continuing technological revolution, thereby enhancing their vital work in the nation's fight against crime. Then came technological progress with the "invention of the patrol wagon and signal service (which have) effected a revolution in police methods (O'Neill, 1976)." In 1909, Chief J. Haager of Louisville, Kentucky, was "proud to say that the police department of Louisville is in such a line of progress that we feel ourselves beyond the utility of the horse, and can now boast of three power-driven vehicles (Haager, 1976)." This report is about American policing in the line of technological progress.
Cars, radios, computers, and firearms are examples.
But this report notes that the police have vital needs for special technologies for which there is no easily available source.
The introduction of the two-way radio and the widespread use of the automobile in the 1930s multiplied police productivity in responding to incidents.
But, as noted in this report, progress in technology for the police has often been slow and uneven.The fragmentation of the American police market, which numbers more than 17,000 agencies, makes selling to the police a time-consuming and expensive proposition.Liability issues are also a concern: Will the manufacturer be protected if its product is used in a way that injures officers or citizens? NIJ's Office of Science and Technology fosters technology research and development when it otherwise will not occur.Its most notable accomplishments were the development of soft body armor for the police and establishment and dissemination of performance standards for police equipment.Beginning in the 1990s, however, the Administration and Congress recognized increased needs for technology and began funding NIJ to meet them.Often in cooperation with other federal agencies such as the Departments of Defense and Energy, NIJ sponsors scores of efforts to develop new technologies. However, in preparing it, observations were formed that may be useful to federal policymakers.