High-Tech Policing

April 21, 2017 • Volume 27, Issue 15
Are new surveillance technologies effective and legal?
By Barbara Mantel

The Next Step


Goldberg, Ted , “ACLU Slams SFO's New License Plate Reader Policy,” KQED News, April 10, 2017, San Francisco International Airport's surveillance practices came under fire after airport officials adopted a policy propelled by new state legislation requiring data collected by license-plate readers to be safeguarded by its users.

Prabhu, Maya T. , “Charleston senator wants to charge police who erase body camera footage,” The Post and Courier, April 4, 2017, A South Carolina Democratic state senator introduced a bill that would make it a crime, punishable by up to a year in prison and a fine, for a police officer to delete body camera footage.

Wootson, Cleve Jr. , “A body cam captured a cop's violent encounter with a teen — but a new law keeps the video secret,” The Washington Post, April 6, 2017, A new North Carolina law requires those who want access to police body camera footage to pay a fee and plead their case to a Superior Court judge.

Racial Disparities

Eckhouse, Laurel , “Big data may be reinforcing racial bias in the criminal justice system,” The Washington Post, Feb. 10, 2017, Judges across the country are using data-driven estimates to set prison sentences for defendants based on their risk of recidivism, but opponents argue pre-existing biases in the justice system could skew the data and unfairly harm minorities.

Edwards, Ezekiel , “Predictive Policing Software Is More Accurate At Predicting Policing Than Predicting Crime,” The Huffington Post, Aug. 31, 2016, The director of the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project says predictive policing, which uses algorithms to analyze crime data, can result in racial profiling.

Expanding Technology

Blidner, Rachelle , “Southampton chief Steven Skrynecki plans to use data to help policing,” Newsday, March 30, 2017, A police chief in a New York town proposed hiring an analyst and using more data to allocate its limited resources.

Kelly, Laura , “Smart cities becoming a reality,” Security Systems News, April 3, 2017, Cities nationwide are encouraging police and business owners to coordinate their video surveillance systems.

Rocco, Matthew , “Taser Maker Offers Free Body Cams to Police, NYPD Not Interested,” Fox Business, April 6, 2017, A body camera manufacturer is offering police departments free body cameras, but a competing provider said the offer would come with “significant internal implementation costs.”


Fussell, Sidney , “NYPD's Proposed Body Camera Policies Are a Disaster for Police Accountability,” Gizmodo, April 10, 2017, The New York Civil Liberties Union says the New York City Police Department's new body camera policies disregard transparency and accountability.

Hansen, Teri L. , “Body cameras promote trust, improve transparency for officers,” McPherson Sentinel, April 7, 2017, Officers in a Kansas county say body cameras can promote transparency and public safety.

McGahan, Jason , “Are Police Body Cameras Pointless If the Public Can't See the Footage?” L.A. Weekly, April 7, 2017, Critics say plans to equip 7,000 Los Angeles officers with body cameras are useless without improved transparency.

Miller, Ben , “Exclusive: Predictive Policing Startup Publishes Code Online, Seeks to Address Bias,” Government Technology, March 20, 2017, CivicScape, a predictive policing company, aims to promote transparency by making its code public and addressing biases in its algorithms.

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Document APA Citation — See Alternate Citation Style
Mantel, B. (2017, April 21). High-tech policing. CQ researcher, 27, 337-360. Retrieved from
Document ID: cqresrre2017042110
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