George asked: “I am a Law enforcement officer. I’m curious as whether there are any newfangled gadgets or things that you may know about out there coming down the road that will make my job easier, or perhaps a lot safer. Would love to find out what you might know.”
George, there are a lot of new gadgets coming out of all the time that may help police officers, some of them may not even be the kind the officer would wear.
Besides the obvious advancements such as cameras, wearable and otherwise, there are some really interesting futuristic gadgets, a lot of which are trickling down from the military.
You’ve probably heard about the military drones that are making their way to police departments, but did you know there are throwable cameras? Some are just balls with 360 degree views, but some are actually small tennis-ball-sized robots on wheels that can be controlled remotely to get a view of an area before having to go in.
Some police cars are also being outfitted with rocket launchers! Kind of… A company called StarChase makes a cannon of sorts that lives in the grill of police cars, and it’s designed for chases. When the officer is chasing someone who won’t pull over they can approach the car, pressurize the cannon and fire a sticky dart that will attach to the car being pursued and transmit a GPS location every 5 seconds. That way the officer can continue the pursuit more safely without having to worry about losing track of the suspect. Obviously a battery operated GPS dart is less costly than flying a helicopter too, so there are potential savings for the department.
You’ve probably heard about SpotShooter already, a system that can figure out where a gunshot sounds are coming from by using an array of microphones spread across a city. Some versions can also give officers a direction and speed of movement if the suspect is shooting while on the move.
Another gadget inherited from the military is PatrolBot, a telebot that allows an officer to sit at a desk and patrol an area remotely through a robot that they can control in real time. PatrolBot can also be used to scan buildings and create floor plans autonomously, without risking an officer’s safety.