High-Priority Technology Needs: Ensuring Officer Safety

Through collaboration and consultation with practitioners, NIJ has identified high-priority technology needs for the criminal justice field, including the following aimed at ensuring officer safety:

  • Confirming and fixing an individual’s identity under all circumstances in a timely manner, including:
    • Identifying individuals from video and audio surveillance.
    • Positive identification and verification solutions, including:
      • Equipment and facility access control.
      • Positive identification of information technology systems users.
      • Incident scene access control.
    • An improved ability to effectively perform real-time, accurate identity checks across multiple jurisdictions and data systems.
    • An improved capability to collect and process biometric information at a crime scene in real time, and remotely comparing it to information contained in criminal justice databases, including:
      • Capture and processing of latent finger- and palmprints in a manner compatible with automated fingerprint information systems.
      • Iris scanning.
      • Facial recognition.
  • Assured means to continuously and accurately monitor the location and status of individuals and equipment, including:
    • Law enforcement and corrections officers and personnel as well as inmates and detainees.
    • Health status of individuals, potentially:
      • Affordable, lightweight, physiological monitoring devices that can be embedded in clothing.
    • Within structures and outside in urban and rural environments.
  • Improved solutions to assure communications under all circumstances, including:
    • A severely degraded terrestrial communications infrastructure resulting from a manmade or natural disaster.
    • An inadequate terrestrial communications infrastructure, such as may be found in some rural or tribal areas, but also in some parts of the urban law enforcement operating environment such as in buildings and subterranean areas.
    • The availability of multiple, overlapping communications infrastructures with varying attributes.
    • Cyber attacks (denial of service) against communications infrastructure critical systems.
  • Improved means to detect, isolate, locate and defeat the use of unauthorized wireless communications devices in all operating environments, including but not limited to, correctional environments. Solutions must consider regulatory requirements.
  • Improved, unobtrusive means to accurately detect a broad spectrum of contraband to preclude its introduction into correctional and other operational environments, such as courthouses.
  • "Intelligent” surveillance solutions to monitor events in correctional and other operational environments and to identify and provide alerts on potentially dangerous situations prior to their occurring.
  • Improved all-hazards protection for law enforcement and corrections officers, including:
    • Lighter weight, more flexible ballistic- and stab-resistant body armor systems that will stand up to environmental degradation and the normal wear and tear associated with continuous use.
    • Cost-effective methods to reduce the heat-related stress associated with wearing existing body armor systems without compromising protection and mobility.
    • Improved methods to ensure the continued performance of body armor systems, including:
      • More accurate means to measure deformations to the inside of a body armor system caused by impacts and perforations and their effect on the human body.
      • Accurate means to measure the protection afforded by in-service body armor systems.
    • Tactile; reusable; and cut-, puncture- and pathogen-resistant gloves that provide full dexterity.
    • Improved materials for everyday duty uniforms that are flame retardant, moisture proof, flexible and lightweight and that offer cut, puncture and pathogen resistance.
    • A protective ensemble compatible with law enforcement tactical operations requirements that provides protection from biological agents, radiation exposure and exposure to the toxic materials and gases associated with clandestine drug laboratories.
    • A full-face respirator fully compatible with law enforcement tactical operations requirements.
    • Improved robots and robotic tools that reduce the need for bomb technicians to deal directly with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) of all types.
  • Proactive, targeted, location-based notification and distribution of alerts to officers.

Next section: Confirming the Guilty and Protecting the Innocent.

Date Modified: September 3, 2010