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Dutch Police to Purchase 35,000 Samsung Galaxy S5s for Fingerprint ID

May 21, 2014 - Written By Cory McNutt

We have all seen it on police or crime dramas where they take the fingerprint of a dead person on their cellphone and run it through the “database” for any hits.  While it is obviously proprietary software – it’s not like you could go to the Google Play Store and download it on your Android device – the smartphones depicted in many of the episodes I have seen are normal Android devices.  If our source’s story turns out to be true, then within a year the Netherlands National Police may be packing a new Samsung Galaxy S5, complete with fingerprint scanner – and using it for more than unlocking their phone or making a purchase with PayPal.

According to their source, 35,000 new Galaxy S5s have been ordered for distribution among the force to replace their aging Blackberry devices. This is all part of their project Mobile Effectively On Street 2 – which will help to accelerate and simplify administrative tasks of policemen.  Applications would also be loaded that add the capability to scan documents and badges and to hand out fines. Because Samsung had shared its fingerprint SDK with others to use to create their own applications for the fingerprint scanner, the police will use a third party app for the purpose of identifying unsubs via their prints.  Its water and dust resistance is also a desirable feature on a device that will be used in police work and subject to the weather’s elements.  Samsung’s KNOX security features were also an added benefit that the police department liked about the Galaxy S5.

Police spokesperson, Niels Nijman, will neither confirm nor deny the rumor: “There are ongoing discussions and negotiations, but with whom and which I cannot say.  The police in turn, is planning more mobile apps, but I can not elaborate on that. “

Public Relations Manager, Anne ter Braak, would not confirm if the Samsung Galaxy S5 would be the new service phone for the police.  She simply stated: “At the moment it is purely rumor.  If anything is final or confirmed, then the police will report this first.”  

However, on a forum for emergency services, those involved spoke of an intranet article that appeared entitled, “Samsung S5 possible new service unit.”  There was also talk that the roll-out was initially schedule for September, but would be delayed until mid-2015.

It is interesting to see how the world of technology is meshing with law enforcement – hoping to make those involved more efficient and better equipped. Smartphones have made it so much easier for investigators to communicate and share data, and I think Google Glass has a big future in this field as more applications are developed to take advantage of its unique capabilities.