Professor Kami Chavis joins national panel discussion on the future of law and order

Photo of Wake Forest Law School Professor Kami Chavis

Professor of Law and Director of the Criminal Justice Program Kami Chavis

Professor Kami Chavis participated in the panel discussion, “Law and Order Circa 2050: Will Technology Make Crime Obsolete?,” regarding the future of police crime-fighting technologies at an event on Nov. 30, 2016, in Washington, D.C., sponsored by Future Tense, a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

The panelists discussed the role of implementing new “ShotSpotter” and predictive policing technologies in denormalizing gun violence and making law enforcement officers accessible to all communities. Professor Chavis said live program technology needs to augment what police departments and personnel do. “I think that police departments have an obligation to use technology — anything they can — to keep communities safe.”

Other panelists included Ralph Clark, president and CEO of ShotSpotter, and P. Jeffrey Brantingham, a professor of anthropology at UCLA and the co-founder of PredPol. The discussion was moderated by Leon Neyfakh, a staff writer for Slate.

While these technologies show promise in making communities safer, they are being rapidly developed and dissemenated, which raises concerns about the potential for privacy invasion and racial profiling. Panelists discussed balancing the use of protecting predictive policing to determine potential violence with protecting civilians’ civil liberties and emphasized the importance of providing police departments with intervention strategies.

In response, Professor Chavis recommended that municipalities using the technologies be careful and critical and involve their communities in implementation. She argued that the technology was important and could be beneficial, but that it should be consistently reviewed to ensure that it is still the best option.

“We can have important guidelines in place for (these technologies) use and also education in the communities — communities should know if ShotSpotter sensor technologies are being used.”

A recording of the webcast of the event is available on the New America website.