The New York City Police Department is making a $160 million investment in mobile technologies as the city plans to purchase as many as 41,000 mobile computing devices for officers to use in an effort to streamline law enforcement efforts.
Over the next three years, the police department will outfit up to 6,000 police cars with new ruggedized tablets computers along with purchasing 35,000 hand-held devices that will provide each officer with his or her own device.
“We must have 21st Century tools to deal with 21st Century threats, and this infusion of new resources will arm our officers with the technology and information they need to fight crime and protect the City against terrorism more efficiently and more effectively,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a release. “In an emergency, every minute counts, and this initiative will allow our officers in the field to get up-to-date, accurate information and process critical information anywhere in the city.”
The initiative includes the funding of data plans, additional infrastructure, network enhancement, application development and ongoing technical support.
Along with helping officers in the field, the mobile initiative is expected to help improve the efficiency of the city’s criminal justice system by providing real-time data and increasing the accuracy and efficiency of information sharing between the police department, local prosecutors and other law enforcement agencies.
“This technology funding will significantly help to advance the NYPD’s move into 21st Century policing. The timely access to critical information is key to effective policing and enhanced public safety,” Police Commissioner William Bratton said in the release. “This initiative will clearly result in more efficient crime-fighting, counter-terrorism measures, and service to the people of New York City.”
Some other highlights of the project:
- Enhanced Patrol Efficiencies – Patrol officers will have expanded search capabilities, including access to the majority of NYPD databases, and will be able to conduct various record checks from the field in a timelier manner. The tablets and hand-held devices will also have the capability of directly receiving information pertaining to 911 emergency calls, often prior to radio dispatch, enabling swifter response to crimes in progress and requests for service. Programs are being developed through which officers will have the capability to enter reports in the field and to process other data without returning to the precinct.
- Officer Safety Features -– Real-time 911 data — including call-taker notes, the 911 calls history, and complaints and police actions at dispatched locations — will be available to responding officers. Additional features, including GPS applications, are being explored. This technology will assist officers through mapping features and help to identify other police resources for backup and response coordination purposes. GPS will also assist in more efficient management of patrol resources.
- Detective Support – Detectives working active cases in the field will have access to the full range of investigative databases, creating a virtual portable Real Time Crime Center. The detectives will be tied into the department’s Enterprise Case Management System, allowing them to review and update case information from the field.
- Direct and Decentralized Communications – Wanted posters, Amber Alerts and missing persons photos can be sent to field officers immediately, thus enhancing the potential for a more timely arrest, victim recovery or rescue.
- Enhanced Communication – Email addresses will be established for all officers to improve department communications across the board.
- Counterterrorism Force Multiplier – The ability to promptly alert field officers will have particular benefits for possible counterterrorism issues. Alerts will be transmitted directly to officers in the field through their electronic devices, thus providing critical information and updates in a timely and coordinated manner.