It's out with the old and in with the new (sort of new, anyway) for police officers at Patrol Borough Manhattan South, a large area spanning Wall Street to 59th Street. Over the weekend, the officers assembled at an old police academy in Gramercy Park to pick up their newly issued iPhone 7 handsets, as the department switches over from Nokia devices running on Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.
The shift from Windows Phones to iPhone hardware was announced last year, at the time just months after the last batch of Nokia devices were handed out to police. NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Information Technology Jessica Tisch had arranged the Windows Phone roll out to police two years prior when she purchased 36,000 Nokia brand phones. However, Microsoft's lack of support ultimately forced the police department to decommission the phones.
Officer will not have to worry about wavering support for their new iPhone 7 devices. Apple isn't going anywhere, and neither is iOS.
"We’ve been giving out about 600 phones a day," Tisch said. “We’re seeing a lot of excitement.”
While the iPhone 7 is a generation behind the recently released iPhone 8 and iPhone X, it offers better speed and security, compared to the dated Windows Phone handsets. Officers in the Bronx and Staten Island have already traded their phones in for an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, depending on their screen size preference, with officers in Brooklyn and Queens next in line for the upgrade.
Mobile phones are an added convenience for officers, who use the devices to fill out some accident reports, summonses, domestic violence reports, and so forth. They also help police arrive at scenes faster, as 911 dispatches come over the phone before they're heard on department radios. Using the department's 911 app, the dispatches can be geofenced as well, so that they only reach officers in a specific area.
"We get to the location a lot quicker," Police Officer Christopher Clampitt noted. "By the time the dispatcher puts out the job (on the radio) we’re already there."
The upgrade to iPhone 7 devices comes just months after Microsoft ended support for its Windows Phone platform. Last September, Bill Gates said he ditched his Windows Phone as well, though he opted for an Android handset instead of an iPhone.