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What motivates the blue line for technology adoption? Insights from a police expert panel and survey

What motivates the blue line for technology adoption? Insights from a police expert panel and survey



Testing technologies for policing is costly and laborious. Previous research found that police can be reticent about technology adoption. The purpose of this paper is to examine law enforcement adoption of programmatic innovations focused on particular crime types (radiological and nuclear threats).


First, an expert police panel explored readiness to adopt an advanced technology (personal radiation detectors (PRDs)). A survey was then developed from the panel findings (n=101 sampled from East Coast metropolitan police).


Results indicated that on-duty device adoption was likely, but not off-duty. In addition, concerns about ease of carrying PRDs, personal health and security issues, and concerns about job performance were raised. Furthermore, findings suggest that police respond negatively to financial incentives, and focus instead on how innovations can contribute to their own safety and that of their immediate families. Additionally, results indicate that false positives are not a significant barrier to adoption, but device training is important.

Practical implications

This work gives insight how to engage officers more meaningfully in technology adoption for benefit of policing in the field.


This work expands previous police adoption literature and advances understanding of the increasing role officers are taking in counter-terrorism efforts in the USA with applications around the world.

Publication Information

Full Citation: 

Egnoto, Michael, Gary Ackerman, Irina IlesHolly Ann Roberts, Daniel Smith, Brooke Fisher Liu and Brandon Behlendorf.  (2017). "What Motivates the Blue Line for Technology Adoption? Insights from a Police Expert Panel and Survey." Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management, 306-320. http://www.emeraldinsight.com/doi/full/10.1108/PIJPSM-03-2016-0031

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