New Study Shows IT Use Can Cut Violence To Police Officers

Roughly 50,000 police officers are assaulted on the job nationally.

Shannon Harrison/Houston Public Media
Texas has had 14 police officer fatalities this year — the most in the nation.

The use of information technology by law enforcement agencies can reduce the number of people killed or injured in the line of duty by 42-50%, according to new research.

The study, which was completed by Paul Pavlou, dean of the C.T. Bauer College of Business, looked into three key areas: crime intelligence, crime prediction and crime investigation.

"If you have better data, you can make better predictions, and then if you can make predictions you can prevent crimes, you can respond to crimes better," Pavlou said.

He used data collected from over 4,300 police departments across the country, spanning a six-year period. He found that only one-third of police departments currently take advantage of IT in those three areas. The advanced IT available allows departments to help better prepare officers for a potentially dangerous situation as they approach a crime scene.

"If a criminal is most likely to carry a weapon, then you send a much bigger force, with bulletproof vests and heavy weaponry, and you prepare accordingly,” Pavlou said.

The information can also help identify potential suspects, and improve the likelihood that police can make an arrest without violence.

According to the study, roughly 50,000 police officers are assaulted on the job in the United States. The study used data from the FBI, the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics and the U.S. Census to build a data-set correlating IT use and reported violence against law enforcement.

In Texas, there have been 14 police officer fatalities this year, which is the most in the nation.

Read the full study, here.

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