ASSET MANAGEMENT IN LAW ENFORCEMENT
There are numerous examples of Hollywood films that depict imposters taking over police personalities and going on the rampage. With so many assets also under their ownership, particularly when it comes to important items such as weaponry and evidence, police stations need an effective method to make sure nothing gets misplaced.
As many items, such as guns and flak jackets, also need to be inspected on a regular basis, how can law enforcement agencies manage their assets for maximum security, whilst also ensuring they are properly maintained?
The answer to these questions is bringing on board RFID tracking solutions that help law enforcement agencies prevent theft, whilst keep their gear in good condition.
Why RFID tracking is needed
In this context, police forces and emergency services can take a mixture of RFID- and barcode-based solutions that help them track assets such as weapons which frequently move around. The technology also helps them keep an up-to-date inventory of their assets, and alert them to when maintenance needs to be carried out or assets need to be replaced. It gives each department an overview of what they own and who it has been assigned to, and can be linked to the HR system as part of an integrated system.
By integrating RFID tracking into the way they work, law enforcement agencies can also create an automated alert process, which highlights items that need to be replaced. As all data is in real time, it is much easier to maintain continuous visibility of what each officer has in their possession and what they should have.
As RFID tracking also ensures that inventory taking can be conducted within a matter of minutes, police officers and other law enforcement employees spend less time dealing with paperwork, and more time on the job.
As early as 2008, the potential benefits of using RFID tracking solutions as part of a police force were being touted as the future of fighting crime. This included a system similar to that of a delivery service’ fleet management, where tracking police vehicles could see the nearest officer being sent to the scene of a crime. This would take the form of RFID/GPS-based tracking that maps out the routes and locations of each vehicle as they move around.
The numerous benefits of using RFID tracking in law enforcement agencies include:
- Preventing unauthorized access : This is another form of access control, and can be most effectively used with restricted areas. As a layered form of access capabilities, employees are provided with different levels of access depending on what they can access and their employee level. As part of this process, they are provided with RFID-based badges or wristbands programmed with the restrictions applied to that member of staff.
- Improving security : When RFID tags are attached to equipment, such as weaponry, it helps prevent unauthorized access or theft. It can also be integrated with HR systems, so that members of staff receive certain pieces of equipment, which can then be tracked as they move around and only authorized personnel have access. RFID tags can also be attached to office equipment and other items, to ensure that all items remain where they should, and no unnecessary expenditure occurs.
- Tracking forensic evidence : It’s critical that forensic evidence remains visible as it moves around, whilst at the same time protected from potential contamination. In a 2005 report, a system of RFID tracking on evidence was put up for pilot tests as part of the US legal system. This new system saw RFID tags attached to evidence so that it could be tracked from the crime scene all the way through the court system and into the evidence storage area. Having this system in place effectively helps the legal system keep track of where each piece of evidence is, and avoid any loss or unauthorized access.
- Reducing time wastage : As RFID tag and tracking solutions allow items to be located within a matter of minutes, it effectively cuts the amount of time spent in looking for assets. It means that items such as evidence, which can sometimes range from just a handful of items to several hundred, can easily be tracked and found in the evidence vaults. With this system on board, law enforcement employees can spend more time on the job, and have the peace of mind that assets such as weapons and evidence are well protected.
Although currently not widespread in use, RFID tracking the law enforcement context can easily help police officers in the line of duty. It creates a system of easy monitoring and locating that helps them in fighting crime.