The topic of police preparedness and monitoring has been a point of national contention. In that nationwide discussion, however, many have overlooked those agencies that are already on the cutting edge of law enforcement technology and policy.
William McBride, Director of Public Safety and Chief of Police at Georgia Regents University, oversees one such agency. He says the continued focus on what police forces are lacking overshadows the edges many already have.
“It’s frustrating in a way to see all the talk about what police should be thinking of doing,” he said. “GRU Police has been doing great things for years, but we worry the public doesn’t see that.”
For example, McBride cited the use of body cameras for on-duty officers. Today, many agencies are scrambling to implement worn cameras for their officers. GRU Police has been using them for years.
“At the beginning, my officers didn’t like [the cameras],” said McBride. “Now they love them. [The cameras] show them doing the right thing, and they never have to worry about false allegations.”
McBride said the cameras also keep civilians honest as well.
But using body cameras is not the only way GRU police excel.
In a time when major security organizations are making the switch to Tasers as a less-than-lethal option, GRU has been using them for more than three years. The force adheres to GLOCK’s recommendation to replace standard issue firearms every decade and remains a member of the Georgia Chiefs State Certification program. In addition, GRU police have been undergoing random drug testing every month for 20 years – something rarely discussed by modern police forces.
McBride said the emphasis on keeping technology and policy updated has been his force’s way of “looking forward, and not being complacent.”
“We’re always looking for better ways of doing things, looking for new technology,” said McBride. “I’m very proud of my department. In GRU Police, we do not ‘follow the leader.’ We move ahead. We lead the pack.”