NYPD officers will soon be able to scan your fingerprint on the sidewalk. At a press conference earlier today, Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor de Blasio announced that the department is getting 35,000 handheld devices and 6,000 "ruggedized tablet computers" for police cruisers.
“We must have 21st Century tools to deal with 21st Century threats, and this infusion of new resources will arm our officers with the technology and information they need to fight crime and protect the City against terrorism more efficiently and more effectively,” the Mayor said in a statement.
All of the mobile devices will be outfitted with GPS trackers, and will eventually see "the integration of fingerprint scanning to support in-field identity checks."
The GPS technology, the releases says, "will assist officers through mapping features and help to identify other police resources for back-up and response coordination purposes. GPS will also assist in more efficient management of patrol resources."
The smartphones will come with a department-issued email address, and are designed to provide officers with information and records normally only available at the precinct. Software is being developed so officers can enter reports electronically in the field.
All of this technology is "built separate from the rest of the NYPD’s technology systems, which are somewhat dated."
Remember, officers are still required to lug around a heavy log book and record activities in longhand. And paper remains the backbone of most police interactions, including stop and frisks.
Most NYPD cruisers don't have dash cameras, and the body camera pilot program is just beginning.
The smartphones and tablets will cost $160 million, $90 million of which is coming from settlements secured by the Manhattan DA's office in the BNP Paribas case, in which the bank paid $8.83 billion after admitting that it laundered money through Manhattan for clients in Sudan, Iran, and Cuba. The Manhattan DA received $440 million from that settlement. New York City taxpayers are chipping in the other $70 million.