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Needs And Prospects For Crime-fighting Technology: The Federal Role In Assisting State And Local Law Enforcement
by William Schwabe
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Most policing in the United States is done by law enforcement agencies at the local level. Although most Americans prefer that policing be controlled locally, there is considerable support for federal help in funding police. One area in which federal funding has been seen as useful is in the development, testing, and implementation of improved technology. An initiative proposed by the Clinton administration would increase funding of state and local law enforcement, with emphasis on technology assistance, technology deployment, crime lab improvements, and training. This report provides information on the current status in each of these, gives examples of what has been accomplished, and suggests prospects for improvements.
From the Publisher
Most policing in the United States is done by law enforcement agen-ciesat the local level. Although most Americans prefer that policingbe controlled locally, there is considerable support for federal help infunding police. One area in which federal funding has been seen asuseful is in the development, testing, and implementation of im-provedtechnology. An initiative proposed by the Clinton adminis-trationwould increase funding for state and local law enforcement,with emphasis on technology assistance, technology deployment,crime lab improvements, and training. This report provides infor-mationon the current status in each of these, gives examples of whathas been accomplished, and suggests prospects for improvements.RAND's Science and Technology Policy Institute was asked to pro-videthe White House Office of Science and Technology Policy withan analysis of local law enforcement agency technology needs. Thisreport should not only interest those in the fields of policing andcriminology, but also those in the general public troubled by violentcrimes and interested in steps being taken to combat crime.Originally created by Congress in 1991 as the Critical TechnologiesInstitute and renamed in 1998, the Science and Technology PolicyInstitute is a federally funded research and development centersponsored by the National Science Foundation and managed byRAND. The Institute's mission is to help improve public policy byconducting objective, independent research and analysis on policyissues that involve science and technology. To this end, the InstituteSupports the Office of Science and Technology Policy and otherExecutive Branch agencies, offices, and councilsHelps science and technology decisionmakers understand thelikely consequences of their decisions and choose among alter-nativepoliciesHelps improve understanding in both the public and privatesectors of the ways in which science and technology can betterserve national objectives.Science and Technology Policy Institute research focuses on prob-lemsof science and technology policy that involve multiple agencies.In carrying out its mission, the Institute consults broadly with repre-sentativesfrom private industry, institutions of higher education,and other nonprofit institutions.Inquiries regarding the Science and Technology Policy Institute maybe directed to:Bruce Don, Ph.D.
About the Author
WILLIAM SCHWABE(Ph.D., Public Policy Analysis, 1983, RAND Graduate School, Santa Monica, California) is a senior policy analyst at RAND.
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