Police agencies are increasingly relying on controversial technology and social media to make up for the loss of thousands of officers and other resources to deep budget cuts, says USA Today. Albuquerque is sharing real-time investigative information with private business groups on interactive websites to help stop theft rings, locate violent crime suspects, and track fugitives. The Albuquerque model, being replicated by agencies in Georgia, Minnesota, Washington, and California, represents a significant break with law enforcement's long tradition of walling off the public from information about developing investigations, Albuquerque Police Chief Raymond Schultz said.
He said the networks help to make up for the loss of about 60 positions in the past 2½ years. “Technology can never fully replace an officer,” said Camden, N.J., Police Chief Scott Thomson, whose 250-officer department has been cut nearly in half since 2006. “We're just trying to leverage technology … to appear bigger than we are.” A survey of 70 large police agencies by the Police Executive Research Forum found that 90 percent plan to increase their use of various technologies, primarily aimed at deterring crime by adopting more efficient surveillance, patrol and response strategies.