Police Week – Keeping Pace with Technology…
Tuesday, May 16, 2023 | 11:56 am
Below is a featured piece written by the BC RCMP.
As we near the 150th Anniversary of the RCMP on May 23, it’s valuable to look at where we’ve been and how far we have come. Nothing exemplifies this more than the world of technology.
We are always looking to see how we can be more agile; how we can implement tools quicker, says Jason Jaschinsky, Division Information Officer for BC RCMP.
As with most of us, the minute we purchase an electronic device, a better, fast, sleeker model is on the shelves. Large organizations, like the RCMP, face the same hurdles.
Today, the pace of technology is moving faster than we can, reflects Jason.
Still, we can celebrate the advances the RCMP have made in the last 50 – 60 years. We unearthed a photo of an RCMP radio room circa 1970. The first thing you notice in the photo is that one of the men is smoking a pipe – smoking is definitely not part of today’s work culture. Glaringly, there is no computer. Oversized radios are found on the floor, tables, and shelves. Everything you see in this photo is now in a handheld device.
The miniaturization of today’s technology and the sheer computer power of smart phones and laptops, far exceeds what the what our officers could do in the 1970s, says Jason.
A photo of today’s radio room illustrates the advances in technology we have made since. We use multiple laptop and desktop computers, plus smartphones to manage all the police radios in the province.
Next, we’ll see the melding of technology with the human body, speculates Jason.
People will have computer tags imbedded under their skin. No need to swipe or tap. Just walk by.
That’s a far cry from what Jason saw when he first joined BC RCMP as a Radio Technologist in 1999. When he arrived at his new post in Terrace, he thought the equipment they used were dinosaurs. So much has changed in just a couple of decades.
The pace of acceleration has been remarkable since then, says Jason.
I joined just at the precipice of the computer evolution – from the non-integrated to the fully digitally integrated.
Jason believes that northern BC is truly the frontline for technology. There are detachments that can only be reached by boat or plane. Many areas of the province are without cell coverage or internet bandwidth. The infrastructure just isn’t there. Still, the goal is to provide a quality, consistent service to all employees in BC.
We are eagerly working to incorporate technologies, like satellite internet networks, say Jason. A satellite internet network that provides fast, reliable, service at low cost to populations that have little or no connectivity. We are working through the complexities of security and procurement. It would be a game changer for our northern communities.
Another massive change is the use of drones operationally. In the past, if investigators wanted to get an aerial view of a crime scene, they would have to contract out or engage the RCMP Air Services.
Drones increase our operational efficiency, say Jason.
For example, our Collision Analysis & Reconstruction Services unit can now send up a drone to survey the scene and determine the operational requirements to complete the analysis. As a result, they can open the roads far more quickly.
With ChatGPT making headlines today, the application of Artificial Technology in policing looks promising and will definitely have an impact in our workplace.
When I was promoted into my current position, I asked ChatGPT to write a message from a new CIO of a tech company to more than 300 technology and information management specialists and make it insightful with 1000 words, Jason recalls.
Within seconds, ChatGPT wrote a perfect message. I sent the message to the team, adding that it was written by ChatGPT. I received a number of interesting comments about that.
Like all Federal Government organizations, all our messages must be in French and English. Currently, if we need to transcribe a file into French, we submit it to an individual translator who will manually type the document in French. However, there are a number of transcription and translation applications available.
We are piloting an application for transcription, called Echo says Jason.
With this technology, you simply load the audio file that needs to be translated, and it will transcribe it in seconds.
We now have a new way to contact a 9-1-1 Police Dispatcher with Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG9-1-1)
NG9-1-1 is the transition from analogue to IP based systems, says Jason.
It allows the public to send voice, data, videos or text messages to a 9-1-1 dispatcher. Gone are the cumbersome button phones with handsets, the new system is touch screen. NG9-1-1 will make it possible to provide additional details about emergency situations.
eTicketing/digital forms, which replaces paper traffic tickets, has arrived in BC.
Officers no longer need to have ticket books for the different violation forms in their vehicle, says Jason.
eTicketing/digital forms allows officers to respond to traffic offences more efficiently and provides more accurate data that will help to improve road safety programs. Vehicles are also equipped with printers and the tickets are submitted digitally.
Perhaps the most controversial new technology, is Body-Worn Cameras. The RCMP is field testing body-worn cameras in Nova Scotia, Nunavut and Alberta.
Audio and video from the cameras captured will be uploaded onto a Digital Evidence Management System, says Jason.
Soon there will be between 10,000 to 15,000 body-worn cameras deployed to RCMP frontline officers across Canada.
All this state-of-shelf technology will assist the RCMP to digest information much faster and be able to do real-time analytics to allow us to leverage that information to respond far quicker.