From lectures discussing drones and the Dark Web, to exercises involving digital forensic tools and applications, many RTC trainings focus on technology’s role in transforming the world of transnational crime and how to manage it. However, while observing two courses at the RTC this spring, I was surprised by the closing remarks I heard from the instructors. The theme of these remarks was that while embracing technological advances is indeed critical for law enforcement agencies and the justice sector, developing and maintaining conventional skills such as rapport building and networking are just as important. Finding this to be an imperative message that often gets lost in the technological whirlwind we live in today, I wanted to share it with the greater RTC Alumni community.

Lesson: If technology fails, your knowledge and network won’t.

As technology increasingly affects how people work, live, and learn, it is easy to overlook the importance of building foundational skills. Without interviewing skills, advanced screening technology that can help you flag someone suspicious at the airport will be useless.  Knowing how to navigate through the Dark Web may lead you to a suspect, but without the ability to write a report, you may never receive approval for a warrant. Ultimately, technology has the ability to increase efficiency, enhance information-sharing practices, and improve informational and analytical capacities. The opportunities that technology can provide, however, will be remarkably more significant when used in conjunction with highly developed conventional hard and soft skills.

As part of the RTC Alumni Network, you’re also in a unique position to collaborate across agencies and borders. Commit yourself to utilizing the network you’re a part of and the communication platforms you have access to in order to enhance your information sharing practices. You may be surprised just how useful collaboration can be!