Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $500,000)
Every aspect of today’s society is impacted by technological change. New technology can significantly improve quality of life and increase the efficiency of government institutions, but improper implementation or application of that technology can generate distrust. Technology developed to improve public safety has been scrutinized due to potential disruption in the balance between prosperity, privacy, and security. As law enforcement seeks to leverage emerging technology, efforts must be made to ensure the community is informed, educated, and amenable to new technological solutions; this is crucial to ensuring the trust between law enforcement and the community is not broken or lost.
One of the most significant challenges in building digital trust is the rapid development of technology. Law enforcement agencies must constantly remain current on new and developing technology and develop evidence-based best practices for using the technology in a manner that is permissible under the Constitution and agreeable to the community. Moreover, as the legal landscape evolves and courts make decisions involving different technologies, law enforcement must regularly stay abreast of the legal precedent that dictates the appropriate use of specific technologies. These constant developments can strain law enforcement agencies at a time when resources are limited and operational demands are high.
The Police Foundation (dba National Policing Institute, NPI) has been a leader in the discussion of building digital trust for over six years. Through its work, NPI has promoted the principles of building trust, particularly around the use of technology, to ensure communities are incorporated in the decision-making and policy development processes while maximizing the effectiveness of law enforcement. NPI will leverage its leadership in this area to deliver national TTA to state, local, and tribal law enforcement agencies to support their efforts to enhance community trust during the implementation and use of technologies in policing. NPI will develop and promote its Digital Trust & Innovation Center as a trusted resource for law enforcement on how to achieve greater public and digital trust, creating a solid foundation from which agencies can address the needs and concerns of their communities. Additionally, NPI will host several symposia with law enforcement, community, and business stakeholders to learn about promising practices and identify resource needs of the field. In providing this TTA, NPI will elevate digital trust as a priority within policing and achieve the overall project goal of enhancing public trust as policing leverages new technologies as force multipliers.