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Iphones for cops?


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  • Iphones for cops?

    My agency currently provides Blackberries, mainly because of the push to talk function. Most of the officers in the unit (it's a surveillance unit, so no routine patrol stuff) dislike the Blackberry and were looking into upgrading to Iphones. Mainly because of the ease of use and the updated technology. I'd be curious to hear if other officers can see any benefits in using Iphones. And if so, what might they be? Here's a few benefits I thought of...
    - Iphone is easier to use, allows you to look up info quicker.
    - With google maps you can view satellite images, views of fronts of residences and backyards and even rotate around. All of this can be viewed while in the field. This is especially handy when planning out search warrant operations.
    - If you do not have your normal camera on you (for evidence, etc), Iphones take better pictures than Blackberries. You can take photos of victims, suspects, etc.
    - It is easier to share information, apps, data, locations, etc with Iphones.
    - Blackberries are extremely cumbersome to navigate. Iphones are the opposite.
    - Limitless apps, some that can assist with suspect identification.
    - easier to take notes (or dicatate) with Iphone.
    - I believe there are GPS apps that you can turn on and everyone can see where the other team members are at. This would be helpful in large surveillance ops where team members are spread out. I believe this improves officer safety.

    I don't know if the approving board would be willing to shell out money for new phones when we already have working phones with the Blackberries. That's why I thought I would throw this out there. Anything else you can think of? Or if you think Blackberries are better, please let me know why. I'm just trying to figure out what is the best option for my unit. Thanks.

  • #2
    Yeah we don't use the PTT function that often, but occasionally we will use the group PTT one. Usually when we are spread out and out of radio range. But I agree, I don't think we need it. That's a good point about the hotspot, but I believe our blackberries already have that function. It's just that everyone hates blackberry so we just don't deal with it. But apparently the higher ups don't think that hating your current phone is a good enough reason to spend money on new ones.


    • #3
      iPhones are great for their ease of use, internet browsing capabilities, availability of helpful law enforcement apps, etc (all points that you mention). I am, however, strongly against using cell phones for taking photos that may be entered into evidence (but that's another topic altogether).

      For some reason, I've noticed that law enforcement agencies in general tend to prefer Blackberrys to other smart phones, so at least you aren't alone. Because I'm not very knowledgeable in regards to cell phone technology, I'm not sure why. I have heard, though, that Blackberrys offer better security (particularly in regards to classified email clients). This may or may not have something to do with it.
      Criminal Investigator (with patrol experience)
      IAI Certified Crime Scene Investigator
      FAA Certified (Part 107) Remote Pilot
      Agency UAS Program Manager


      • #4
        You may want to explore phones using the Android platform. Without getting into too much detail there are quite a few LE centric application that run on the Android platform that for surveillance and other related operations may put Apple in the back seat. Not saying Apple does not have the same/similar but I am quite familiar with what is on Android and have thus far been very impressed.

        While your observations are great- before you start using you phone for evidence and or documentation you need to explore the open records laws and rules of evidence for your jurisdiction. Remember that the phone is agency property and anything on it (meta data, call logs, texts, photos, web history and the like) are subject to subpoena. This is also important to remember if you have CI/CW information on your phone- it could be compromised.

        When it comes to tactical applications- be aware that some satellite imagery is WAY out of date or may not be usable depending on cloud cover or the angle of the ground shot.

        A while back I wrote an article that spoke to the applications of cell (smart) phones in police work- it covered scene planning, documentation, covert communications and the like; perhaps I can find it and will post it here.
        Originally posted by SSD
        It has long been the tradition on this forum and as well as professionally not to second guess or Monday morning QB the officer's who were actually on-scene and had to make the decision. That being said, I don't think that your discussion will go very far on this board.
        Originally posted by Iowa #1603
        And now you are arguing about not arguing..................


        • #5
          I phone seems to work faster and easier to use with the touch screen.


          • #6
            I will echo the 'dont take pictures with your phone' crowd....either use a shift camera or crime scene unit. You dont want a personal phone called into evidence, where the defense will go through absolutely everything on that phone.

            That being said, my shift is about half iPhones and half Androids. I like my Samsung Galaxy S3, personally. Bigger screen, plenty fast processor, and able to do anything an iPhone can do.

            Just my opinion.


            • #7
              I have seen police officers using iPhone and iPad during works. Not only these devices are easier to use, there are many apps in the Appstore providing applications that can help police officers work more efficient.


              • #8
                This will hold your iPhone. It has a clip that will fit your duty belt.

                That is what I use.
                September 11, 2001 - All gave some, some gave all. Never forget -- Never forgive.......... RIP Brothers and Sisters.


                • #9
                  work supplies our iPhone4. Kinda cheap and don't even get the 4S. We are going to start to use it for recording our in the field interviews. I would prefer an iPad 2. I have a program called Capture Notes. Does everything. Records and you can hand write notes. You can attach a virtual sticky matching up your recording with your notes. Just awesome. A local agency has the iPads and they have entire case reports on them. They use them on the stand in court in case they have to refresh their memories. I suppose you could do it with any tablet, then the Apple stock wouldn't go up. Buy people buy.
                  Stupid has no color or race, everyone can participate.


                  • #10
                    The Agency I work for used blackberries for a long time, when local management pushed to go to Iphone's our information security office , wouldn't go for it, they called it an enterprise security nightmare. the blackberry platform is much more secure that apple. We eventually moved to apple after the costs associated with the blackberry server got to be too high. we are still having issues managing Iphones but it seems to be working. Talk to your I.T. department.


                    • #11
                      I'm resurrecting an older thread, but then again, you're reading an old thread. I just wanted to throw my .02 in here, so...

                      My agency has had iPhones for several years now, and before that we had Nextel (lol). The iPhone is far superior, and I've said it from the beginning - we don't even issue cameras for patrol anymore, since we can take photos (for a battery case, etc.) and then send it by email to records and evidence right from the field.

                      Another idea that not a lot of people are using is that you can take a photo(s) when you F/I a person. That way, you have an accurate record of the person's description and you can add more detail when you write that up later. You can also photograph the subject's vehicle/bicycle, which notes the color/style of the bike.

                      Another thing that I think a lot of people overlook is that on the iPhone as opposed to a basic camera, the iPhone's photo will give you a time & date as well as GPS coordinates, which is also handy if you aren't able to get around to writing it up until later in the shift when you've forgotten a lot of the details.
                      NYCD exam 6315
                      Passed, Jan 2016


                      • #12
                        iPhone is still the best thing going, IMO.

                        I have an iPhone for my personal cell and a Samsung POS for my work phone. All I use the Samsung for is voicemail from and calls to the public. It literally sits in my car 24/7. I don't even bother to carry it around.

                        It's a piece of crap... even after my tech wizard wife optimized it as best she could, it still sucks.

                        Oh, I have used the voice recorder on it. That works pretty well but getting the recording off the phone and onto CD for evidence was a PITA.

                        Our newest road deputy, call sign "Sheriff Last", got an iPhone as her county phone when she graduated FTO. Color me jealous. In fairness, she thought to ask for one.
                        Last edited by tanksoldier; 10-24-2016, 03:17 PM.
                        "I am a Soldier. I fight where I'm told and I win where I fight." -- GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

                        "With a brother on my left and a sister on my right, we face…. We face what no one should face. We face, so no one else would face. We are in the face of Death." -- Holli Peet


                        • #13
                          We're looking at rolling out some sort of personal tablet device over the next few years. The expanded possibilities they have to streamline our work is enormous.

                          We have MDTs in the car but they don't have anywhere near thr functionality of the ones I've seen in the US. We can't do reports on them and tickets are still handwritten.

                          If I had an iPad and could do some or all of the following I would be a very happy man:

                          Check names/warrants/photos
                          Capture and store photos
                          Facial recognition
                          Video/audio record interviews
                          Write reports
                          Take statements and sign them electronically
                          Scan fingerprints
                          Issue tickets
                          Use email
                          Sketch collisions


                          • #14
                            They have tried to use the Microsoft tablet but, it has been a big fail. We have been sending them back to get fixed more than anyone has been able to use them. I have my person iPad 2 and have had 0 problems. I bought a keypad case for it and works like a charm.

                            Anyone have any good iOS apps they use?
                            Stupid has no color or race, everyone can participate.


                            • #15
                              Our department has a single flip phone we all share...So there's that.

                              I've heard of a department in England that just bought a bunch of windows phones.

                              Android forever. Even Android blackberry wouldn't be bad.


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