The Politics of Policing Technologies: Tracking Technology Adoption in the State of California

BIDS Faculty Affiliate Alison Post offered this project through UC Berkeley's Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (URAP) in Spring 2022 

In this project, we are examining the adoption of new technologies by police departments in the state of California. Examples include body worn cameras, dashboard cameras, crime mapping, automated gunshot detection systems, ring camera systems, and video surveillance systems. While some of these technologies raise potential concerns about community surveillance and privacy, others are demanded by local communities as ways of monitoring police officers. We are interested in understanding the circumstances under which these technologies are adopted. Which types of city and county police departments are more likely to adopt these technologies, and why? What are the implications of uneven patterns of adoption for the quality and character of residents' everyday experiences with the police? Data already collected for this project can be viewed at

The URAP apprentice will be investigating the ways in which the private firms selling these technologies are marketing their systems to local governments in the state. The URAP apprentice will engage in systematic web searches of vendor websites and advertising materials, collect and analyze exhibition and conference materials related to policing technologies, and potentially also interview firm representatives. The aim will be to better understand which types of governments these firms view as potential customers, and why, and the ways in which potential customers are convinced of the benefits of these technologies. Through working on this research, the URAP apprentice will learn strategies for conducting principled and systematic web searches for collecting key types of data, as well as methods of analyzing this data. Professor Post (the project sponsor) will supervise the URAP apprentice directly. Ph.D. students working with this project may also attend some meetings. 

The URAP apprentice should have prior experience with conducting research online, and a willingness to learn and analyze qualitative information in a systematic fashion (required). A familiarity with California geography would be desirable. Related website: Smart City Technology Adoption In California.


Spring 2022 BIDS Undergraduate Internships - Apply January 11-24

BIDS Affiliates

Alison Post

Political Science and Global Metropolitan Studies, UC Berkeley
Faculty Affiliate