Forward-looking: Beginning February 17, officers across the force will put down their trusty memo pads and start taking digital notes on company-issued iPhones. It may not seem like a big deal but for a department with over 30,000 uniformed officers, it’ll be a major transition.
The New York City police department in 2017 replaced more than 36,000 dated Windows phones with iPhones and soon, those devices will take on additional responsibilities.
In addition to helping to curb potential abuse (or make it easier, depending on who you ask), the switch to digital will allow the department to more efficiently access and search memo book entries during follow-up investigations. Supervisors will be able to sign off on reports and monitor officers’ entries remotely.
What’s more, it’ll eliminate the task of trying to decipher officers’ chicken scratch and reduce paper waste. According to The New York Times, the department’s printing arm turns out 10,000 memo books each month.
Officers were long expected to safeguard their memo books, even after retirement, in the event they were subpoenaed as evidence in the future. Now, the digital records will be maintained by the department.
Not everyone is onboard with the switch. Officer Michael Ignatz, a 14-year veteran at the 90th Precinct, told the NY Times that he was a pen and paper guy. “For the younger guys, it’s an easier transition,” he added.
Masthead credit: Police cars by Photo Spirit. Roll call by Chang W. Lee, NY Times.