NYPD will equip all 36,000 officers with Windows smartphones in coming weeks

The organization's IT leader called smartphones the 'largest transformation' for emergencies in over 50 years

The New York City Police Department said it's given specially customized Microsoft smartphones with policing applications to the majority of its officers, according to NY1, a New York news organization. The agency plans for its entire 36,000-strong force to have the phones within the coming weeks.

It's a major vote of confidence in the Microsoft line of mobile devices, which has never been a point of prominence for the company. It's a second major government news item in a few weeks for Microsoft, which announced a plan with the U.S. Defense Department to push 4 million Windows 10 devices to its users over the next year.

According to NY1's report, the devices have had a sweeping effect on the way officers conduct business in the field. On a sample day, police officers said they'd looked at 2,000 wanted flyers, carried out 36,000 database searches, and looked into details for 29,000 calls to 9-1-1 – all processes that it seems could not be carried out on a connected mobile field device before.

"It is clear that these department smart phones represent the single largest transformation in emergency communications in over a half of century for sure," said Jessica Tisch, NYPD deputy commissioner for information technology, in a video accompanying NY1's report.

A lot of the applications seem to revolve around added connectivity, as the report detailed that officers can receive shot-spotter alerts, receive warrants and serve them from the phone. They can also make enterprise-level queries for all department databases and certain state and federal databases.

Further, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said his department plans to extend the capabilities of the devices as they're used in the field. He said they've looked into using applications like Skype to make officers more efficient, videocalling into traffic court from the field rather than taking a day to appear in person.

For more:
- read the article from NY1

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