LFP Police Review Urgently Needed New Tech


LFP Police hosted an equipment tech fair for small police agencies last week by an Arizona company called Axon. A few major tech milestones they're considering have become available this year. 

Although some have visions of George Orwell's "Nineteen Eighty-Four" when it comes to police drone use, the fact is that police aren't flying drones around to randomly surveil you. They're transforming modern policing and keeping communities and officers safer. A thermal sensor can spot the heat from a body lying on the ground. A camera can search for clues at the scene of a disappearance. And a loudspeaker can relay information to someone trapped while they wait for help to arrive.

According to Axon's website, "As autonomous drones become more capable, they will be a common sight in the skies, responding to 911 calls and assisting officers on patrol. Without a trained pilot, they will save money and time."

According to LFP Police Sgt. Morris Parrish, "LFP Police Chief Harden, is working with a local foundation to establish a UAV program that will provide overwatch and an extra asset during critical situations. Drones are not always available from King County Police."

Until recently, an officer had only two chances of a successful Taser connecting to a target. Depending on the target's clothing and movements, the less-lethal approach doesn't always work, and sometimes, the officer has to use their sidearm, which is never preferred. 

A new Taser gives the officer five chances to make good enough contact and render the target compliable, hopefully without injury to the target or the officer. The range of the new Taser device is also approximately 45 feet up from the current 15 feet. They've already been used to disable armed suicidal targets from a safer distance for officers. 

Unnamed King County Corrections Officer using virtual Taser training aid

Rather than use the expensive Taser darts in training, a 360 virtual 3D training simulator is now available. If acquired, it could be shared between police agencies with highly realistic scenarios.

 With car thefts skyrocketing in recent years, license plate numbers can be automatically uploaded to patrol cars so that any officer with a license plate reader encountering a stolen car while on patrol would be alerted. The cameras automatically zero in on license plates while the patrol unit is moving. 

LFP Police Sgt. Morris Parrish stated that LFP Police were one of the first agencies in the region to implement body cameras. Now, their benefits are common knowledge. The new-generation body cams automatically convert voice to searchable text, so officers can spend less time writing reports and more time policing. They also quickly refute many false claims officers must deal with these days. 

According to LFP Sgt. Morris Parrish, the City of Bothell's closing of its 911 call center (also previously used for LFP) and necessary buy-in to support the new NORCOM 911 call center mean they'll need to re-budget to acquire some of these upgrades. 

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