The New York Police Department now have official smartphones, even if they are of the Windows variety. The rollout of phones started in April last year and is due to be completed to all 36,000 NYPD officers by the end of 2016. The phones are being increasingly used on the street in the initial response and in the investigation of crimes, giving officers immediate access to more information and making it easier for them to communicate with each other in the New York community. The phones are now issued to any new officers at the same time as they receive their badge and weapon.
When selecting which phones to use, the NYPD did consider both Android and iOS, but chose the Microsoft Lumia 830 and Lumia 640 XL based largely on the security features provided and the ability the centrally manage such a large number of devices. The phones are currently not even running Windows 10, although upgrades are planned. Due to the nature of the job, the durability of the hardware is another important factor. Phones are regularly broken through the physical nature of the job.
Another change along with the phones is that officers now have allocated official NYPD phone numbers and email addresses. Officers can now give out their details to individuals so that anyone, such as a victim of crime, can follow up with them directly rather than having to contact a central office. Previously it had been against NYPD policy for an officer to give their personal contact details to a member of the public.
The NYPD is continuing to develop the platform of apps available to officers, with future goals including the ability to connect directly to existing security cameras throughout the city and view footage on the phone screen. The features already available to officers though include the ability to search through police records such as warrants or license plates, access the latest NYPD news bulletins, send messages to other officers within a defined area of the city, receive 911 calls directly and complete paperwork such as filing reports or completing forms. The phones also provide access to the latest training videos and instructional material.