2014 has been a troubling year for our country’s law enforcement. Whether it’s excessive militarization, violations of privacy, or the tragic mistreatment of civilians, the police has been getting a significant amount of bad press.
Enter the largest emerging market in technology - the Internet of Things.
Several companies have already been developing solutions to both improve the police’s capabilities and provide greater oversight and safety to our citizens.
For years, startups have worked on perfecting firearms that would only react to specific fingerprints or RFID chips. But what if the firearm could give you advanced metrics on how an officer used his gun? Take, for instance, the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri. Many experts familiar with the events have pointed out how often the police actually had their weapons drawn and aimed.
Contrary to every Michael Bay movie you may have seen, this is not standard operating procedure.
So what if law enforcement firearms could track when and for what duration a gun has been withdrawn, what it’s pointed at, and if it's been discharged?
Meet Yardarm Technologies. a startup that has been working on a solution to this exact problem. They’ve developed a sensor, placed in the grip of the gun, with a built-in gyroscope and accelerometer, and with wireless connectivity. That means that any time the gun is taken out of the holster, the sensor will be able to transmit data in real time.
For example, imagine police responding to a domestic disturbance. When they arrive at the scene, they find a situation that warrants drawing their weapon. A dispatcher back at the station would be alerted as soon as the firearm was pulled, know if it was aimed at anything other than the ground, send backup if necessary, and track if any shots were fired.
Not only would this be extremely helpful for police officers, it would provide much more oversight to each individual, creating a safer environment for civilians.
And while cloud-accessible cameras are already becoming a common household device, many are petitioning for a mandate requiring all police be monitored at all times. Imagine a camera attached to both an officer and their firearm.
On a lighter note, another sect of our law enforcement will also benefit from the Internet of Things - our canines. While people have already started using wearable health technology, K9 units will begin wearing (or have implanted) devices that will monitor vitals and body temperature. Theoretically, the tech could be linked to the vehicle - a K9 unit left in a car on a warm day could be cooled down automatically by the car activating the A/C or rolling a window down.
Certainly, our law enforcement must make many necessary changes to their culture to create better public perception and a safer community. Perhaps, technology can be a catalyst for the police to go back to protecting and serving.