Criminal Justice System and Its Technological Advancements

In recent years, the Criminal Justice system has seen many technological advancements. These inventions were introduced with hopes to make the system safer and easier. Advanced technology has saved careers and lives, reduced the number of complaints against police officers, and has made it quicker and easier for investigators to record their findings. One very important invention for police officers is the dash and body cameras they use and wear. These benefit police officers especially because they record all actions of the suspect and the police officer so no false accusations can be made on either behalf. This can also benefit both parties if the case is taken to court. Dash and body cameras can save the careers of police officers. Knowing that the cameras are always running will most likely cause the police officer to think more deeply about his or her actions beforehand. It may also cause the suspect to act more diligently which could save the life of a police officer, community member, or even the suspect.

Body cameras have, however, raised some privacy concerns. Many are concerned for the privacy of children, officers, and informants because they don’t know when police officers have the jurisdiction to turn off the camera or when they are required to have it on. Another concern is the expense of body cameras and their upkeep. After experimenting with the impact of body cameras on police officers in the UK, Martin Goodall found that there was a 10 percent decrease in violent crime in the year since the cameras were insulted. He also found that the amount of time spent on paperwork has been greatly reduced. As the results of this experiment show, police wearing body cameras benefit society in many ways.

Another advancement is robotic cameras, used commonly for investigating areas that are not safe for police officers to investigate themselves. These cameras allow police officers to stay at a safe distance while investigating or searching a dwelling. It is also a safer way to detect bombs. Police officers will no longer have to enter buildings with canines and risk both of their lives and the canine’s to find a planted bomb. Robotic cameras may reduce the risk of injury for suspects as well. One of the first times a robot was for anything other than the disposal of bombs was in 2016. Dallas police chief David Brown used a robot intended for bomb disposal to end a standoff. He strapped a plastic explosive to kill Micah Johnson. After this community members began to anticipate robots to be used in the criminal justice system more frequently.

Some are concerned about how far the government will allow the police to go with their robotic systems. Will robots be able to use excessive force against a suspect? What if the suspect is innocent? Will the police be able to control the robot completely? Many believe the robots are a good idea and will be able to save lots of lives, but others believe we should keep our criminal justice system clear of robots. Researchers are unable to completely comprehend all decisions that robots make. For example, engineers at google don’t fully comprehend how their Rankbrain AI works. Many question the eligibility of police officers using robots if even the smartest of engineers cannot fully understand the way robots work. How will police officers be able to ensure the safety of community members?

Recently police officers have been introduced to a system that may make traffic stops quicker and easier. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has introduced a system that can instantly identify the operator of a vehicle by using face and iris identification. This can help police officers identify a threat before the traffic stop. It can also help them identify when a person is driving without a license. This could be an excellent advancement for crime prevention because criminals can be identified quickly and effortlessly. With this technology, all the information necessary will already be pulled up about the operator of the vehicle which will save the hassle of the police officer. This system is not well known by the public therefore, people are not as opinionated about this topic as they are about others.

Gunshot detectors have been created to ensure the safety of police officers and investigators. The detectors tell police exactly where the shot was fired. They can be placed throughout neighborhoods to detect shots fired using audio sensors. Police officers in New York City have installed gunshot detectors in the Bronx to try to curb gun violence. With technology, the police officers hope to learn how much gun activity there is within the neighborhood. New York City wasn’t the only city to do this, San Diego police also installed the system “Shot Spotter”.

However, San Diego community members do not necessarily agree with the installment of these systems. Some say that it does not help in preventing crime and that it is not an effective way to build the trust of the community members. Some fear the Shot Spotter may be listening in on conversations within the community, some of which may be confidential. However, the police chief states that the system is unable to listen in on conversations. Community members also say the system is a waste of money and the $1 million put into the system could’ve been put into something more useful. Before the Shot Spotter was installed, there was an average of 4 murders per year, in the year after there were not any. This shows how effective this system has been since its installment in 2016.