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Communications of the ACM

Communications of the ACM

The impact and use of computer technology by the police

Over the past decade there has been a significant growth in the use of computer technology by U.S. police departments. This growth, however, has been at a slower rate than predicted in the early 1970's. Further, when computer applications extend beyond “routine” uses to “nonroutine” efforts, such as resource allocation or computer-aided-dispatch systems where the machine begins to become a tool for decision making, strategic planning and person/machine interaction, the results of the technology to date have been mixed. This paper reports on case studies and surveys which provide insights on the implementation and impact of police computer technology and the relationship of this technology to law enforcement and society.

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