Being the Chief of Police for Los Angeles, I am strongly concerned at improving all the records, and the manner of using and accessing them. With this goal, I propose computerization of all the police records as the new system. Efforts towards computerization of all the police records must start early at this point, considering the fact that other data have been computerized already.
In the information age, advanced technology can be taken advantage of without encountering significant risks. Many businesses have already relied on computerization, such as banks, stores, libraries, and other companies that have complex business processes. This fact has proven the advantages of computerizing all the records.
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Maintaining law and order is a difficult and has different aspects. Despite that, several tasks involved in police offices are still routinary or can still be optimized further. These tasks, being performed repetitively, are prone to human error, more so when workers are already exposed to long working hours and under psychological fatigue. On the other hand, unintentional mistakes could have been avoided with the help of automation.
In addition, instead of investing on personnel just to maintain records, human efforts could be focused on more important aspects in the government. Instead of assigning people to perform tasks that a computer can do faster and more accurately, computers can be purchased in place of workers that must be paid every month.
Details on fugitives, arrest records, warrants, missing persons, stolen property, and alerts relative to terrorism threats must be easily accessible to the police, so the fastest manner of updating, storing, and accessing data is preferred. To answer this concern, a database is an appropriate option because it is where data can be stored and then be arranged easily and conveniently.
The view of the data may be organized; irrelevant details may be hidden from the view of a certain user who is performing a certain task only, so that searching is more efficient and more secure. Databases are used in many applications, pning almost the entire range of computer software. They are the preferred method of storage for large applications with many users.
Databases can be managed more easily than analog data (such as card catalogs). Moreover, since the data that are usually recorded on paper would be converted to electronic data, data loss and dilapidation is not a significant problem anymore. In digital format, copies may be made without sacrificing quality, unlike copying analog data (e.g., using photocopiers). Data can also be maintained more easily in digital format.
In addition to speed, accuracy is also a good asset of having computerized records. If the data are standardized and more centralized, redundancy is avoided. Since transparency is increased through the computerization of police records, confusion can be avoided.
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Moreover, only authorized people can access sensitive data. Security levels must be set in the computer system. When police records are already computerized, information would not pass to many people only to deliver information to one person because the transaction can be made through machines and would therefore ensure privacy further.
High overall efficiency may be achieved if the computerization of police records is implemented properly. Moreover, if the relevant data are more accessible, tasks will be performed faster and more efficiently. Trends may be studied and demography can easily be obtained using statistical methods and easily if data is centralized and consistent, so conducting criminal investigations would also be faster.
Developing specialized software may be expensive, but the same computer program is used to all the police stations, and it may be used for a long time. If some aspects of the electronic election process must be enhanced in the future, the existing system can be used as a foundation instead of starting everything from scratch. Therefore, the cost of labor (in terms of time, energy, and money) is reduced in the long run.
Before implementing the electronic system, studies must be thoroughly conducted regarding the effectiveness of the system in real scenarios, risks involved in implementation, and the cost and benefits. Interested university students who have the relevant background may be encouraged to participate in conducting the research.
Like any method of keeping records, computerized records are still susceptible to fraud. However, considering the fact that the processes are standardized and centralized, errors and fraud attempts are detected more easily.
Computer networks may be used as a medium, but the system must protect itself against identity theft and vandalism. To minimize the potential negative impact of this new system, standards must be established, and more laws against computer crimes and breach of security must be strengthened. The private information can be encrypted before being sent, and decrypted after being received at the other end. Both the encryption and decryption algorithms can be performed conveniently using the software.
Because of this move to computerization, one of the basic goals must be to ensure that every division/section in the police department is equipped with computers. However, security requirements must still be tightened, and the access levels of the police must depend on his position and his scope of responsibilities. These measures would avoid unauthorized access to sensitive data.
Only the data that must be seen by the public. The system must also allow citizens “to easily access and obtain several types of documentation, such as information on tainted vehicles, information on tainted firearms, domestic servant verification, and instant passport verification.” (“National Crime Records Bureau”, 2007).
This method of storing data into digital format is not less secure than analog data. Both methods are susceptible to breach privacy, and true data security can only be achieved if everyone involved in the process have maintained their integrity as a person as they develop solutions to update and maintain the records, and the solution implemented is complex enough to be deciphered by hackers.
This proposal is a good starting point to let the police and the people realize the benefits of automated systems. Aside from the aforementioned benefits of computerization of police records, other benefits that may seem less obvious at this point will certainly be useful.
Harnessing and exchange of information on criminal operating in neighboring states would be more plausible as soon as other states have also decided to strive for computerization of police records. In the future, having a reliable police record may even provide room for other important transactions such as electronic voting. Hence, continuing studies must still be conducted to further improve the service of the government to the people.
We must start the process of standardizing the way the criminal records are maintained across the state, in order to allow efficient sharing of information and facilitating greater coordination to the higher level.
I fervently hope that you share the same sentiments and the suggestions would be implemented. Thank you for your kind consideration.
“National Crime Records Bureau” (2007) Microsoft Corporation. Retrieved Feb 24, 2007 from
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