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The fragmentation of the American police market, which numbers more than 17,000 agencies, makes selling to the police a time-consuming and expensive proposition.
For the first 20 years after the federal government began supporting local criminal justice agencies, NIJ's role in technology was limited.
The introduction of the two-way radio and the widespread use of the automobile in the 1930s multiplied police productivity in responding to incidents.
But, as noted in this report, progress in technology for the police has often been slow and uneven.
A current example is a five-year project to improve the quality and availability of DNA technology to local and state law enforcement.
A second example is funding to detect concealed weapons and contraband.
Examples include fingerprinting databases, computerized crime mapping, and records management systems doing everything from inventorying property and cataloging evidence to calculating solvability factors.