The Top 19 Public Safety Predictions for 2019
School safety, active shooter, mental health and other challenges will shape the coming year in public safety operations and service delivery.
Police1.com asked 19 law enforcement experts to share their predictions of the biggest issues police will face in 2019. Read the highlights, or review and download the full public safety prediction slides, below.
"While attacks from garden-variety crazies will certainly continue, it's possible that we'll see an increase in politically motivated attacks, as disaffected political groups continue their slide toward the violent radicalism that plagued America from the mid-1960s to mid-1970s."
"Implementation of NG911 infrastructure will allow emergency communications centers to accept text, photos and videos from citizens. This rich data, which will be supplemented with robust artificial intelligence search engines, will provide emergency call takers with more complete information before dispatching first responders. A social media dashboard, integrated into the CAD system, will generate mind-blowing possibilities."
"I predict that more academies and agencies nationwide will begin to deliver training to ensure every police officer is equipped to respond to civil unrest and the challenges posed by today's professional rioters."
"Police agencies need to be able to substantiate the authenticity of digital evidence, while still providing access that offers verifiable accountability. This has the potential to become a mounting financial and logistical challenge."
"Genetic genealogy will successfully be used to identify active serial offenders in addition to solving cold cases. New forensic technology advances, such as DNA methylation analysis and phenotype prediction of novel physical traits, will assist with these identifications."
Evidence Based Policing
"Unfortunately, we will continue to resist research and data partly because U.S. policing is decentralized (18,000 individual police departments) and based mostly on tradition, culture, politics, law, agency-specific values and public opinion."
"I predict that law enforcement agencies will push for more social service involvement with their homeless populations, as most issues facing these populations are best handled by those outside of law enforcement. "
"More law enforcement agencies will hire civilian PIOs. This concept has been trending upward for approximately five years and it makes sense."
Mental Health Response
"Local law enforcement agencies will be asked to assist federal law enforcement in the handling of potential targeted mass violence subjects who suffer from mental illness. These subjects often do not reach the threshold for prosecution and diversion to mental health linkages is a more appropriate response."
"Technology will become increasingly important to the delivery of training from use-of-force simulation that approaches virtual reality to the development of on-demand learning modules that will enable officers to call up training they need while working on a problem in the field much as we might ask Alexa or Google for the weather forecast."
"While many administrators will see the value, they will be challenged in successful implementation if they are resistant to seeking out mental health services for themselves, having come up through the ranks when counseling and psychiatric medications were viewed as only for the weak. As a result, clinical depression, anxiety disorders and PTSD will go untreated in police officers and suicides will remain the same or increase because continued stigma prevents cops from seeking out services from a licensed mental health professional."
"In the latter half of 2019, policing will begin to feel the effects of the coming global recession. This will be exacerbated by the impact of climate change on policing in the form of increased flooding, hurricanes, fires and drought, and flare ups of civil unrest in urban centers resulting from controversial police use-of-force incidents gone viral via social media."
"Police now have tools in their toolkit that enable them to create pathways to treatment and recovery. As more departments join PAARI and see the benefits to their communities, my prediction is that these non-arrest responses to the opioid epidemic will become a widespread practice in many more police departments across the country."
"Individuals seeking PTSD-related workers’ compensation and/or a disability pension continue to face many obstacles to obtaining such benefits. While some individual states have attempted to reduce obstacles, the pace of change is far too slow."
Recruitment & Retention
"Recruiters will focus more on looking for candidates who display integrity, effective communication skills, empathy for others and a spirit for public service."
"The number one goal of any police officer working in a school must be to bridge the gap between law enforcement and youth. Achieving that goal produces valuable intelligence that helps prevent active shooter situations."
"As more people prefer to do their business online through smartphones, police departments must begin to understand the benefits of deploying a 'mobile-first' strategy as it relates to their ongoing use of social media platforms to communicate and should begin to shift their social media and outreach efforts to provide a better customer service mobile experience for their residents."
"SWAT teams need to increase their focus on protecting communities from terrorist and homegrown extremist attacks. As more cowards attack our citizens as they enjoy themselves socially, SWAT teams need to step up and provide protection details. This level of regional, preventive cooperation may be problematic at first."
Use of Force
"Use of force in response to mass gatherings of individuals at protests, political gatherings and concentrated population areas such as dealing with the border caravan and homeless encampments with a focus on de-escalation will continue to be a high-profile issue."
Review the full predictions in 19 slides:
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