Impacts of Going Mobile in Law Enforcement

February 12, 2014 Niki Laxamana

For some time now, police officers in the field have had access to a growing number of records, so they can check on warrants, occurrences, driving records, vehicle records, and so on. New mobile applications mean that much more information now flows in the other direction as well, often from handheld devices; officers are transmitting incident reports and video data to headquarters, and creating digital image and information files on the spot. What I loved most about being a police officer was being mobile and helping people. What I disliked most was being stuck at the office and doing paperwork!; I am so excited to be a part of the SceneDoc team because I feel it is time to revolutionize the way police officers do their job.

Increasing Support for Mobile Technology

The heart of policing is what happens out in the field, and if information technology is going to be relevant to police work, it has to be in the officer’s hand when he or she is mapping crime scenes, recording evidence, or conducting interviews. An example of growing adoption of these technologies is New York’s IMPACT grants, which fund the state’s police forces to purchase technology such as mobile devices and crime mapping software. This initiative provides 17 counties with the “tools and resources to implement a data-driven approach to policing.” As officers at the scene of a crime improve the quantity and quality of the crime data they share, command staff gain a clearer view of patterns and trends, enabling them to make good decisions about forming partnerships with state and federal agencies.

Safe Storage is Crucial for Sensitive Information

A pressing issue surrounding officers’ use of cell phones is revealed in a Law Officer article: Every officer now has a cell phone accessible at all times. The phone is one of the four devices (along with their badge, their gun and their wallet) that officers are never without. Because of this, phones are logically what police turn to when they need to record evidence, jot information or take photos of crime scenes. As the Law Officer journal states, “Imagine what would occur if an officer lost a phone that stored domestic violence evidence.” An application which safely transmits and stores all evidence, photos, maps, voice recordings and notes in the cloud is the clear answer to this concern. SceneDoc is built around the core value of security: it protects data transmission through SSL, and it provides encrypted cloud storage for all information and images.

The entire interconnected web of global information is rapidly moving to mobile devices. As tablets and phones acquire new capabilities, they’re only going to become more indispensable. The impact of insecure data needs to be confronted with direct solutions, so that an officer can securely record necessary information and still keep his or her mind on the immediate situation, in order to remain safe.

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