Last summer, 400 on foot NYC patrolmen were outfitted with Android smartphones that cannot make or receive calls, but rather, send and receive data from the force’s criminal databases. Officers can now access criminal records, photographs, license plate numbers, and even pull up the location of security cameras pointed at a determined address while on foot. The need for the technology came from officers not being able to access the same information that their counterparts in patrol cars and laptops could. Any requests for information requested over the radio was spotty and brief.
Officers seem empowered with the quick access to the information in the Android app. One officer noted, “They don’t realize we have this technology. They can’t tell me a lie because I know everything.”
While there is concern of officers defaulting to ’rounding up the usual suspects,’ the technology offers great potential in public safety and more efficient policing.