Pillar Three: Technology and Social Media

      The use of technology can improve policing practices and build community trust and legitimacy, but its implementation must be built on a defined policy framework with its purposes and goals clearly delineated. Implementing new technologies can give police departments an opportunity to fully engage and educate communities in a dialogue about their expectations for transparency, accountability, and privacy. But technology changes quickly in terms of new hardware, software, and other options. Law enforcement agencies and leaders need to be able to identify, assess, and evaluate new technology for adoption and do so in ways that improve their effectiveness, efficiency, and evolution without infringing on individual rights
Another technology relatively new to law enforcement is social media. Social media is a communication tool the police can use to engage the community on issues of importance to both and to gauge community sentiment regarding agency policies and practices. Social media can also help police identify the potential nature and location of gang and other criminal or disorderly activity such as spontaneous crowd gatherings.

ETPD Action on Pillar Three

ETPD strongly believes in the use of technology can improve policing practices and build community trust and legitimacy, but its implementation must be built on a defined policy framework with its purposes and goals clearly delineated. Implementing new technologies provide us with an opportunity to fully engage and educate our community in a dialogue about their expectations for transparency, accountability, and privacy.
In 2014, under Chief Chew’s direction ETPD was the first police department in the State of NJ to fully outfit all of their officers with a body worn camera. We are the model agency in the state and country for developing a body worn camera program. We were also one of the first agencies in the State to get MVR in each of our patrol vehicles. The systems are integrated with the BWC and all information is captured on a cloud based server called evidence.com.
In 2017, under Chief Chew’s direction ETPD outfitted every patrol officer with a Taser Controlled Electronic Device (CED). In accordance with the New Jersey Attorney General Supplemental Policy on Conducted Energy Devices, the agency has acquired conducted energy devices (CEDs) to provide members with additional use of force options for gaining compliance of resistant or aggressive individuals in arrest and other enforcement situations. In certain situations, a conducted energy device may help diffuse a volatile situation and make it unnecessary for an officer during a confrontation to resort to the use of deadly force. The device may also reduce the risk of death or injury to members, innocent bystanders and victims, and also the persons who are subject to arrest.
Another important aspect of Pillar Three is the mandate that law enforcement agencies should adopt model policies and best practices for technology-based community engagement that increases community trust and access. ETPD policies and practices increase transparency and accessibility, provide access to information (crime statistics, current calls for service), allow for public posting of policy and procedures.
In the area of social media and community outreach, our agency continues to be at the forefront the use of new and social media, which has resulted in a stronger between the police department and the community. ETPD accomplishes this mission of effectively communicating with the members of our community by a state of the art Website and by Social media outreaches through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Nextdoor. Our police department’s Facebook Page has over 34,000 followers and our continually receives requests from other law
enforcement agencies on the how to implement the same successes in their respective agencies.
In 2016, under Chief Chew’s direction ETPD made the decision to create the first online/kiosk program in the state of NJ. The kiosk/program was created in order to make it easier for citizens to obtain the services they need; the Evesham Township Police Department is continuing to promote its custom touch-screen kiosk installed inside the police lobby. The kiosk is available to citizens 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Another important aspect of adding the kiosk to our community was to free up time for those who work in the clerical department, enabling them to help others with service requests or other needs. Kiosk services include: Requesting a police record (OPRA), Request a vacation check of their home, providing a tip on a crime, completing an online police report, paying a traffic citation, obtaining various common police forms, Browsing department social media and pictures