In Sign Of Times, City Police Officers Rely On Cell Phones
Despite rules in the New York Police Department prohibiting officers from carrying their personal cell phones while on duty, many officers nevertheless use their phones frequently in communication with other police or contacts in order to get information necessary to their jobs.
Current rules require officers not authorized to carry cell phones to communicate through police radio or pay phone, which is not always as convenient; however, many officers receive tacit approval from their supervisors to carry their personal phones, which they say free up radio airwaves for other communication and are more private than radio. However, because they are not supposed to be carrying the phones, officers often pay for their job-related cell phone calls out of their pockets, although some write the expenses off on their taxes.
Despite the prevalence of cell-phone use among officers in ways that improve their ability to do their jobs, the department has no plans to change the rules regarding phones; officials say radio remains the fastest and most effective method of communication between officers and should be the first option officers turn to. In addition, cell phones can be dangerous if they ring when officers are trying to conceal themselves.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center(NLECTC) from the New York Sun (03/29/06) P. 1; Solomont, Elizabeth.