The smartphone could become an official crime fighting tool for HPD. Police Chief Susan Ballard is pushing the idea to help officers do their jobs more efficiently and safely.
Chief Ballard is looking to pilot test the program by the end of January. It’s something police departments in other cities are already doing.
She told the Honolulu Police Commission about the project. While most officers already carry their own personal phones, the HPD issued devices will have software and hardware to give them access to secure information.
“The officers will be able to connect to our CAD server, which is the server where they’re able to pull up. They can run their own criminal history, background checks, navigation features, sending officers to cases,” she said.
HPD says additional information can be vital since officers are constantly responding to calls that can endanger people’s lives, including their own.
“So that when they’re walking into the situation they know what they’re about to encounter. So it’s definitely a great safety tool for our officers,” said HPD Maj. Rade Vanic.
“So we’re really looking forward to that because it’ll be something the officer can carry in their pockets and they don’t need to come back to the cars to do things. They can make the checks. It’ll make it easier for our communications division as well,” said Ballard.
HPD says smartphones can also be connected to body cameras, which are gradually being implemented to more officers. And that will allow officers to tag and label their videos, making it easier to find the clips they need.
“It will allow them to know in more detail and more quickly what those videos are instead of having to watch or look through the whole thing,” said Maj. Vanic.
The head of the police officers’ union SHOPO, likes the idea. He says right now many officers use their personal phones to take pictures of scenes and evidence because it’s convenient. But he says that means their personal phones could be subpoenaed, so the union advices them against it.
As for the cost, HPD says it’s not known yet. It has to decide on exactly what device to use. Iphone? Android? We’ll let you know when we get an update.