U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Using Future Broadband Communications Technologies to Strengthen Law Enforcement

NCJ Number
Date Published
24 pages

This report presents the findings of an expert panel convened under the sponsorship of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to discuss how the law-enforcement field can best leverage anticipated future communications technologies developed during the next 10 to 15 years, while mitigating potential risks.


This Broadband Communications Workshop involved 41 experts in both law enforcement operations and broadband technologies. Participants identified 68 needs for technology and non-materiel requirements. The top 10 needs identified by the workshop are outlined in this report. The most prominent theme of the workshop was support for the emergence of a future broadband network in which law enforcement users will be able to seamlessly and securely communicate over whatever local point of access is the best fit at any location. The second major theme addressed the ability to filter, prioritize, and make sense of all the new data sent over this network. A common concern was the danger of information overload and how to manage and curate information to make it useful for various areas of law enforcement, ranging from officers in the field to operations centers and public safety answering points. Needs in support of these themes included architectural development, developing guidance for agencies on acquiring, managing, and using new technologies, and conducting research and development on a range of technologies related to bringing about the future hybrid networks and information prioritization. A table provided in this report summarizes the major issues, recommended ways for the future, and associated key milestones. The envisioned outcome is the provision of maximum value to the practitioner in having increased communications capabilities for law enforcement actions. 3 figures, 2 tables, 27 references, and appended table of needs from the workshop and details on how panelists rated various issues

Date Published: January 1, 2016