NYPD app (Image: NYT) Image: NYT

Android app arms police with real-time data

Some 400 police officers in New York have been equipped with Android smartphones and a new crime-fighting Android app under a pilot scheme, the New York Times reports.

The app is designed to give officers the ability to run person and address searches, bringing in information from several different sources. Officers can look up police records on individuals, including photos, and access vehicle registration records. The app is also fully location-aware -- NYPD officer Tom Donaldson told the NYT “If I see that in the last month, there have been six arrests on the seventh floor for drug trafficking, maybe I want to hang out on the seventh floor for a while.”

Police would previously have had to rely on cumbersome laptop-based systems in their patrol cars to retrieve this info, or radio details back to a dispatcher. The app, officers tell the NYT, offers a much easier way to access this data. Donaldson explains, “Our dispatcher will tell us if they have a warrant or not but it’s a simple yes or no answer. I don’t know if the guy is wanted for murder or for not paying a parking summons. We rarely know. Now we know.”

Source: The New York Times; via: The Verge


Reader comments

NYPD equipping officers with Android smartphones, new app


By that logic no propitiatory apps should be used by the Govt, not to mention these type of apps will be useless away from Govt servers.

The Facebook app is available publicly, but you still need an account to use it. I would assume, at minimum, this would be the same.

This app is most likely useless for anyone who doesn't have privileges to use it. And how's that different from Windows 95 laptops they run in cruisers?

Don't get too excited. The company I worked for gave this to NYPD almost 10 years ago on the Blackberry. It's just a little more "immediate" than having to depend on the laptop for the same info. Too many bad guys out there to not give the cops this access!

"Officers can look up police records on individuals, including photos, and access vehicle registration records."


Features still under development include:

* Stop-and-frisk lottery function. Requires camera permissions determine subject's rac-- errr... to... make a visual record of the subject before generating a *totally* racially-unmotivated "Yes/No" result.

* Function to remotely disrupt/shut down any third-party cameras (professional, cellphone or otherwise) within a 75ft radius.

* "Cover-up / no-fault / deny everything / media silence" function for instances where police decisions come under question or fire. Includes "drag feet" feature for internal investigations.

* Ray Kelly appreciation gallery.


Several additional functions when the app is switched to "Protest Control Mode":

* Replace vibration motor with a canister of pepper spray, for shutting up those pesky nonviolent-but-vocal protesters.

* Replace headphone jack with orange mesh netting dispenser for impromptu "kettling" of crowds.

* Next-generation FAR (Frivolous Arrest Reason) Generator. [Patent Pending]

-- FAR hands-free function detects officer's level of physical exertion via gyro/accelerometer in order to determine current size/activity/threat level of crowd. This level regulates the rate of automatically-generated FARs, so officers can concentrate on subduing protesters while the generator works in the background. No interaction required: just a quick glance at the screen and you'll never be at a loss for a new and unique reason for a frivolous arrest!

This just gives them a legit reason to text and drive now. Oh, I was just running the plate in front of me...uh-huh.

It's information folks. Information they could already get, it's just coming through a different medium. Don't pee yourselves over it.

This will be huge to law enforcement. HUGE. Not having to rely on dispatchers alone will be great for patrolmen - let alone the gps information.

Also - the criminal defense lawyer in me is EAGERLY AWAITING the day that cops all wear video cameras (Glass or otherwise). No more fighting about how poorly reports are written - just watch the video. It's been great for DWI's.

Ijust saw this article and i have to wonder what happens when they lose the phone and someone with Android hackery knowledge finds it?