Forget about stun guns and body cams; the next generation of police gadgets are designed to prevent police from ever being in the line of fire, while helping save lives. Police and sheriff's departments across the country are investing in new tools that employ the latest in robotics, artificial intelligence and machine learning to protect law enforcement and the public. They may even ultimately save money.
There are a number of new gadgets that sound like something out of James Bond: gunshot detection systems from a company called Shotspotter that can pinpoint the exact source of a gunshot. A system from a company called Starchase shoots GPS-enabled darts to attach to, and then track, vehicles fleeing from the site of a crime.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department has been investing in a range of new tools, said Captain Jack Ewell, no matter what the cost of the technology — if it saves lives, it's worth it.
"We have been using technology and robotics for years, but the technology improves almost on a daily basis, so we use it more now than we ever have before. The robots are better; they function better; they do more things that they couldn't do in the past. The costs have actually come down, and they're indispensable," Ewell said.
One of the newest types of technologies the LA County Sherriff's Department has been deploying is unmanned aerial vehicles equipped with cameras, customized by drone company DJI. These remote-control aerial vehicles give law enforcement eyes from above to help with everything from bomb threats to search-and-rescue, hazmat spills and active-shooter situations.