The New York City Police Department decided last year to get rid of the 36,000 Windows phones it gave its police force throughout the past two years. The NYPD is now officially rolling out new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus models to its workforce, reports the New York Daily News.
The rollout originally started in Manhattan before Christmas and will now continue with Brooklyn and Queens. As with the Windows phones, the NYPD can use the iPhones for 911 dispatches, along with accessing real-time video and background checks. They’re also able to complete tasks including filling out accident reports and summonses.
Another useful feature is the ability to access video and surveillance pictures of wanted suspects within minutes of a crime being committed. Officers are provided with information when responding to an emergency call as well. This ranges from the criminal history of the location — such as records of past 911 calls placed in this area — or if there are any wanted felons residing at the address.
Before the switch to iPhones, the NYPD used the Nokia Lumia 830 and the Lumia 640XL, which were part of the $160 million initiative to bring the NYPD up to date. The department isn’t paying anything extra for the new handsets, since its listed as a hardware upgrade under its contract with AT&T.
The decision to switch to the iPhone came in August — only one month after it was announced that Microsoft officially ended Windows 8.1. With both of the NYPD phones and the Microsoft-engineered apps running on this specific operating system, the change was necessary. An end to Windows 8.1 meant the devices no longer received updates.
Using iPhones has already been beneficial, with response times to critical crimes in progress dropping by 14 percent, according to Jessica Tisch, the NYPD deputy commissioner of IT. The smartphone has its security benefits as well — when working in such a crucial field where lives are on the line, it’s important to carry devices equipped with the best software and operating systems.
Apple frequently updates the number of its devices on the most current operating system. As of January 18, 65 percent of active iOS devices run some version of iOS 11, while 28 percent run iOS 10. A majority of Apple’s customers on its most up-to-date software not only means users are accessing its latest features, but they also have better security.
Updated February 6: NYPD rolls out iPhone 7 and 7 Plus smartphones to replace Windows Phones