North American Policing in the Digital Age

  • Maria Haberfeld John Jay College
Keywords: digital age policing, American policing, cyber crimes


This article addresses the varying levels of training preparedness and legal challenges facing the American local law enforcement agencies in the Digital Age. From the example of the New York City Police Departments’ multiple units like: the SMART Unit (Social Media and Research Team), Real Crime Unit, Domain Awareness and Vehicle Recognition Unit to the overview of the majority of smaller police departments that have very limited, if any, type of preparedness. The majority of police departments in the United States are staffed with less than 50 sworn officers and the Digital Age policing challenges are numerous and addressed in a very uneven manner. However, the larger departments, like the N.Y.P.D., can provide a template for a more professional and effective response. Finally, in addition the different modalities of numerous tactical responses embedded in the creation of the specialized units, there are the challenges related the legal aspects of these initiatives.   Some of the legal challenges facing the specialized unit are discussed while, focusing on the hurdles in obtaining legal subpoenas for the information posted on various social media platforms like the Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat.  A template for proper proactive preparedness culminates this overview.

How to Cite
Haberfeld, M. (2022). North American Policing in the Digital Age. European Law Enforcement Research Bulletin, (6), 57-64. Retrieved from
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