BlackBerries May Join Cops on Patrol
The Chicago Police Department (CPD) is currently pilot-testing 17 BlackBerry wireless hand-held devices.
The units have been distributed among bike and Segway patrols, narcotics, and Area One gun teams. At least 100 more are anticipated to be ordered by the end of October to be given to additional teams like those targeting organized crime. The aim is to save time for officers on the street.
“Officers on foot or conducting missions have access to a huge, rich database of information on wanted people, wanted vehicles, gang offenders, crime patterns, and previous police stops,” says Jonathon Lewin, CPD’s commander of the information technology section. “It’ll result in more crimes being solved and smarter policing.”
With each unit costing about $200, the cost for getting a BlackBerry to all 13,500 CPD officers would be about $2.7 million.
Officers who use bikes or walk on patrol are now able to access the same services that a squad car would provide, such as checking license plates and the names of potential suspects, says Police Supt. Phil Cline.
A vendor called Info-Cop developed the software and information for CPD, with officers getting about two hours of training.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Chicago Sun-Times (10/16/06); Spielman, Fran.