Understanding the functionality of smartphones in policing

Here's a partial listing of what you can do today using a combination of smartphone functions, specific applications, internet access and supporting peripherals


The inherent utility provided by the base-level functions of a smartphone are undeniable, but they can do so much more.

Some functions are available with an off-the-shelf device, while others are available using a specific application or attaching a peripheral.

Below is a partial listing of what you can do today using a combination of smartphone functions, specific applications, internet access and supporting peripherals:

  • Mobile computer-aided dispatch (for CAD systems offering a mobile client, the smartphone becomes a fully functional, CAD-addressable device);
  • Timely and mission-critical retrieval of relevant data from department databases;
  • Camera for capturing images and videos of evidence;
  • On-scene information collection, recording and note-taking using voice recognition;
  • Improved situational awareness (location at a person level, position of team members, near-real-time alerting from public safety sensors);
  • Electronic citation issuance;
  • Basic language translator;
  • Identify pills or medications;
  • Access to department policies, legal resources, even training videos;
  • Health and wellness programs;
  • Heart rate, O2, even blood pressure;
  • Sophisticated routing/mapping;
  • Facial recognition;
  • In-field fingerprint identification of suspects (using a Bluetoothed peripheral);
  • Thermal imaging (requires a device that plugs into the USB port).

To learn more, read 9 steps to deploying smartphones in your agency.

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