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NYPD’s response time to crime reduced by use of smartphones

As of last month, smartphones had been issued to all 36,000 police officers with the New York Police Department. The program, known as the NYPD Mobility Initiative, began with phasing in the use of the devices. The initiative to equip every police officer with a smartphone was first announced by the city in October 2014.

In addition to the smartphones, the plan called for 6,000 tablets to be installed in police cars.

One of the apps allows people reporting a crime, especially a crime in progress, to communicate directly with police officers without the necessity of going through a dispatcher. According to Engadget, in one day alone, officers clicked on 29,000 emergency 911 alerts and made 26,000 investigative queries.

Speaking to a conference of police chiefs, Jessica Tisch, the NYPD’s Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology, said for the first four and a half months of 2016, response time to crimes in progress have been reduced by 12.6 percent. Tisch also said times were reduced for response to critical crimes by about 12 percent. The average response time to these critical events is four minutes and 26 seconds, down from five minutes.

Tisch said, “This app has completely changed the way we direct police resources to respond to 911 calls. Now officers get all the information about the jobs they have to respond to direct to their smartphones.”

Whatever Police Commissioner William J. Bratton thinks about officers having smartphones, he is not happy other people have them. Late last month, Bratton went on what the New York Daily News described as a rant about people filming his officers doing their jobs. This came in the wake of the an investigation into Officers Risel Martinez. Martinez was filmed waiving his gun around and then allegedly punching a person who was filming him.

Bratton’s rant also came shortly after the NYPD sent a memo to officers reminding them citizens the right to videotape police as long as they are not close enough to interfere with what the officers are doing.

Back in October 2014, the NYPD Mobility Initiative was estimated to cost the city $160 million over three years.

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