Technology in Criminal Justice

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People have an idea of how law enforcement works but rarely ever think of how much technology affects it, and how much it keep them safe and keep their kids safe. The world changes every single day so consequently law enforcement has to keep up, for example 30 years ago there were no such things as cyber crimes but today there are all new laws and technology to prevent and protect against these crimes. Some innovations were much needed and sought after and others were spontaneous and groundbreaking. It is used in almost every aspect of the system from crime scene investigation to tactical operations and simple patrol. Looking at the past, present and future of criminal justice technology it’s incredible to see how far it has come. Technology is the muscle and motor functions of a healthful criminal justice system; it’s hard to imagine feeling safe without it.

Technology is crucial to the criminal justice system; it is used every single day in many different forms. For example DNA has revolutionized criminal justice forever. DNA is your unique genetic build up, when you commit a crime you may leave behind biological evidence and this is collected by the police crime scene unit. First is body fluids, it is very common for criminals to get nervous while committing a crime and sweat, spit, or vomit at the scene. To identify and collect these pieces of evidence, a CSI might use smear slides, a scalpel, tweezers, scissors, a UV light, protective eyewear and luminol. Second is a finger print, everyones are unique and when you touch something you leave your print behind. At a crime scene you would find different types of finger prints including Visible which is left by the transfer of blood, paint or another fluid or powder onto a surface that is smooth enough to hold the print and is visible to the naked eye. Molded which is left in a soft medium like soap, putty or candle wax, forming an impression and lastly Latent which is left by the transfer of sweat and natural oils from the fingers onto a surface that is smooth enough to hold the print and is not visible to the naked eye. A CSI would use brushes, powders, tape, chemicals, lift cards, a magnifying glass and Super Glue to collect a finger print. Next are hairs and fibers which is also part of DNA evidence. Hairs and fibers are collected with combs, tweezers, containers and a filtered vacuum device. All of this evidence is collected, analyzed and used to identify suspects and link them to a crime. Once all of this DNA evidence is collected it is run through something called CODIS. What CODIS is it’s a national database of DNA profiles belonging to convicted offenders. When investigators run DNA evidence through CODIS they can either get a match or know that multiple crimes were committed by the same person. DNA evidence makes it harder for crimes to be perpetrated. Another example is computers and different computer systems and programs, these help law enforcement everyday. The National Incident Based Reporting System collects data for each crime investigated and arrests made. The program then sorts the data into one of the 22 offense categories and 46 specified crimes. The reports collected by the National Incident Based Reporting System paint a vivid and detailed picture. With this system investigators can compare crimes and also form accurate statistics to help prevent crimes. Another useful computer program is The Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System. This is a computerized system that contains records of fingerprints, mug shots, scar and tattoo photos, height, weight and appearance descriptions and criminal histories and aliases. These programs are great but what about the cops who work on the street? Today most patrol cars are equipped with high tech computers which allow police officers to search incident reports search tag numbers and do warrants checks. They are also equipped with GPS which could save an officers life if he was in a situation...
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