Smartphones and Law Enforcement

This article from the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) newsletter, TechBeat, explains the potential benefits of smartphones for law-enforcement personnel — as well as some important considerations when purchasing smartphones.

From the Summer 2011 TechBeat:


Law enforcement agencies are finding sophisticated uses for smartphones, those ubiquitous handheld devices that combine voice services with advanced computing ability.

The Baltimore Police Department, with 4,000 civilian and sworn personnel, is the eighth largest municipal police force in the United States. In 2010, following a pilot study, the department began distributing Blackberry® CurvesTM equipped with the PocketCop application to about 2,080 sworn officers, who use them to access criminal justice databases, take photos at a crime scene, and increase efficiency and information sharing, according to Gayle Guilford, director of MIS for the department.

PocketCop provides secure access for queries to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC), motor vehicle and warrant information and other databases. It has alarm capability and wireless messaging. If an officer makes a traffic stop and through database queries discovers the individual is a wanted criminal, an alert is issued to other officers and the communications center without the suspect knowing. The officer has the infor- mation at his fingertips rather than having to wait for communications dispatchers to provide it or having to go back to the patrol car to search using its computer equipment.

“The majority of the officers like having the access and the ease of use and having information at hand and not relying and waiting for the dispatchers for descrip- tions and other information,” Guilford says.

The device also contains an in-house Baltimore Police Department application called Priority Warrants, which allows officers to know daily the most wanted individuals in their sector of the city.

Download the PDF below to read the article in its entirety, including nine important things to consider when deciding to purchase a smartphone for officers.



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