RFID and the Need for Law Enforcement Asset Tracking

The need for law enforcement agencies to track their assets is not new. Yet it is growing ever more important as technology improves how police work is done. With new technology comes new assets that have to be managed. Tracking those assets is critical to proper management.

Rock West Solutions, a California company that specializes in sensors and data analytics, encourages law enforcement agencies to turn to radio frequency identification (RFID) for easy, cost effective asset management in the modern world. Rock West has helped design and implement comprehensive RFID systems for law enforcement.

Every Asset is Tagged

At the heart of RFID are tags and sensors that communicate via radio waves. Tags can be either passive or active. Passive tags do not emit any radio frequencies on their own; rather, they communicate with active sensors when the two pass within close proximity of one another. An active tag has a separate power source so that it is capable of transmitting radio waves over distance. Both kinds of tags are useful for asset tracking.

In a law enforcement scenario, every asset is tagged. Each tag contains identifying information corresponding to the asset to which it is attached. That same information is entered into a computer database, giving law enforcement agencies a complete record of every asset and where it is located at any given time.

Assets are tracked automatically upon leaving storage. They are tracked when returned as well. Everything is done seamlessly and with very little need for human input.

RFID Tracking Saves Time

A big advantage to RFID tracking is that it saves time. With a comprehensive system in place, it is no longer necessary for clerks to check assets in and out. Information about assets does not have to be manually updated every time the locations of those assets change. Modern technology is such that tagged assets don’t even have to be scanned. Sensors can be placed in strategic locations – like doorways for example – to automatically track assets as they are moved around.

This saves a tremendous amount of time that would otherwise be devoted to asset management and inventory control. It is time that could be spent on more important things. RFID asset tracking also saves time by keeping an accurate record of where assets are at all times. Agencies do not invest time in hunting down lost assets because they know exactly where everything is.

Anything Can Be Tracked

Deploying a combination of active and passive tags means just about anything can be tracked. Agency-issued weapons can be fitted with tags without interfering with operability. So can agency-issued radios, flashlights, computers, and even uniforms. Passive tags do not have to be big or bulky, so they don’t get in the way of police work.

The icing on the cake is that RFID technology makes real-time asset tracking incredibly easy. Once an agency’s database is completely set up, all assets are accounted for. From that point forward, the data is automatically updated every time tracking information changes.

Say an officer takes a brand-new drone out for a training exercise. As he is exiting the building, the RFID system tracks the drone’s tag and updates the computer system so that it reflects the fact that the unit has been checked out. Data is automatically updated again when the drone is returned.

Law enforcement agencies have long tracked their assets. But most have done so with methods that are now outdated. A better way to track assets today is with RFID tracking that makes asset management easier and more efficient than it has ever been.