KEY POINTS

  • NYPD introducing iPhone app to record patrol duty data and other information
  • The app will replace the existing memo book
  • The transition will happen by February 17

A New York Police Department (NYPD) officer would use a memo book to record arrests, patrol logs, witness and victim statements. These handwritten memo books have been the NYPD’s tradition for over a century. Now, the department is ready to ditch the books for a custom-made iPhone app.

By Feb. 17, the NYPD is retiring the memo books and transition to an iPhone app to record data. The department will issue officers the iPhones installed with the app that will send information to a database.

According to the New York Times, the department officials believe that the digital record keeping will help in curbing any form of abuse, like fake entries and bad handwritten notes.

Deputy Chief Anthony Tasso, who is the commanding officer of NYPD’s Information Technology Bureau, said that with this app they will have access to a large amount of data from the officers.

“It gives us the abilities we did not have before when memo books were left in officers’ lockers and we didn’t have access to a vast amount of information,” Chief Tasso stated.

However, the police union officials are worried that the officers will be unnecessarily scrutinized by the department. “We’re already subjected to more oversight, more bureaucratic burdens and more workplace surveillance than any other job in the public or private sectors,” Patrick J. Lynch, president of a police union (Police Benevolent Association) said.

An NYPD officer’s toolkit has seen many improvements and changes over the years. The service weapon – revolver – has been replaced by a nine-millimeter semiautomatic pistol. The nightsticks made out of wood have been retired and expandable batons are part of the kit.

Meanwhile, Chief Tasso mentioned that modernizing the logging process by officers will streamline the entire process, bring down paper waste and the cops will not have to carry the heavy books. He assured the officers that this change is part of the technological advancement of the department, not for keeping an eye on officers.

The department developed the app, which has been tested by a team of officers. A standard format in the app will allow the department to record “clean data,” Chief Tasso remarked.

NYPD A police car sits in front of One World Trade at ground zero in Manhattan, New York City, March 20, 2017. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images