ERM: The Future of Law Enforcement, Part 1

Technology has become the lifeblood for virtually every organization and industry in the past few years, and solutions are ushering in a new era of productivity, efficiency and accountability. The public sector has quickly gained traction to be on the forefront of new technology utilization for a range of purposes and objectives, with many involving the responsibilities and tasks associated with enterprise risk management (ERM) and government transparency.

There is perhaps no better example of the modern challenges of the public sector than in law enforcement, which has been a recent constant topic of conversation in government, civil rights advocacy and general population circles. Use of force, policy breach and security issues have no doubt polarized much of the nation over the past few years, and unfortunately, there have been few positive headlines related to these topics. But, regardless of which side you're on, technology can and should be viewed as a potential means of capturing, addressing and mitigating these issues faster and with more reliability and accuracy.

Law enforcement has been under a public microscope of late.

There are both challenges and opportunities involved in modern risk management relating to law enforcement in the United States. For the past two decades, we've led technology deployments, adoption and optimization. Today's focus now also includes ERM, or Enterprise Risk Management, helping law enforcement and other areas of government improve by enabling technology.

Risk management solutions, when used properly and consistently along with a policy and procedure outline, can be a major catalyst for stronger transparency, accountability and public safety.

Common Challenges

Due to phone cameras and social media, the dangers associated with law enforcement have been much more visible in the public eye in the last few years, with some civil rights advocates arguing that racial tensions are worse than they have been in years. Politicians, from local officials all the way up to the White House, have stated that the lack of trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve has become an epidemic across the country, and is one that needs to be addressed and corrected.

For obvious reasons, this is territory in which modern ERM solutions have clear applications. The ERM solutions that Tribridge provides to law enforcement departments help to identify a range of problems more proactively than traditional measures are able to match. However, ERM modernization has its share of challenges that departments must overcome. Problems and issues will happen regardless of systems; however, the intent of an effective ERM solution is to identify trends or patterns with individuals or departments that may exist, and that can be addressed proactively, with the hope of preventing scenarios or situations that likely lead to bad outcomes.

One of the simplest, yet most obstructive, roadblocks today involves either improper or infrequent use of the ERM solution. Like any technology application, an ERM solution is only as good as the information you put into it, how much you use it and how well you understand how to use it. That last part is critical; in any technology solution, there's a lot more to it than just plugging in data and running random reports. Proactive trending and forecasting through analytics will allow you to utilize meaningful data and make better decisions, an invaluable asset to leaders in law enforcement and public safety.

There is also a need for vendor involvement in the act of teaching users how to get the most out of their ERM solution. Tribridge does this well, but I think it's a challenge that many agencies face given their legacy systems and the inability to conduct some of these processes. It's our job to teach them and show them how to do it; I think that's one of the reasons we're so successful.

Opportunities Abound

The more common goals of ERM modernization efforts in law enforcement tend to be focused on the elimination of unnecessary, unprovoked, or inappropriate force and a closer perspective on the routine activities of officers. But applications should be viewed a bit more objectively; one of the great potential improvements to be made with these tools is the improved safety of officers as well as the communities they serve.

Plus, given the fact that more devices including body and dash cameras are in play every day, there will be more valuable data to use in an analytics program that focuses on ERM.

Read Part 2 to see how law enforcement can take advantage of opportunities using modern ERM technology.

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