• Article

Biometrics and Policing


Furberg, R. D., Taniguchi, T., Aagaard, B., Ortiz, A. M., Hegarty-Craver, M., Gilchrist, K. H., & Ridenour, T. A. (2017). Biometrics and Policing: A Protocol for Multichannel Sensor Data Collection and Exploratory Analysis of Contextualized Psychophysiological Response During Law Enforcement Operations. JMIR Research Protocols, 6(3), e44. [e44]. DOI: 10.2196/resprot.7499, 10.2196/resprot.7499


BACKGROUND: Stress experienced by law enforcement officers is often extreme and is in many ways unique among professions. Although past research on officer stress is informative, it is limited, and most studies measure stress using self-report questionnaires or observational studies that have limited generalizability. We know of no research studies that have attempted to track direct physiological stress responses in high fidelity, especially within an operational police setting. The outcome of this project will have an impact on both practitioners and policing researchers. To do so, we will establish a capacity to obtain complex, multisensor data; process complex datasets; and establish the methods needed to conduct idiopathic clinical trials on behavioral interventions in similar contexts.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of this pilot study is to demonstrate the practicality and utility of wrist-worn biometric sensor-based research in a law enforcement agency.

METHODS: We will use nonprobability convenience-based sampling to recruit 2-3 participants from the police department in Durham, North Carolina, USA.

RESULTS: Data collection was conducted in 2016. We will analyze data in early 2017 and disseminate our results via peer reviewed publications in late 2017.

CONCLUSIONS: We developed the Biometrics & Policing Demonstration project to provide a proof of concept on collecting biometric data in a law enforcement setting. This effort will enable us to (1) address the regulatory approvals needed to collect data, including human participant considerations, (2) demonstrate the ability to use biometric tracking technology in a policing setting, (3) link biometric data to law enforcement data, and (4) explore project results for law enforcement policy and training.