$160 Million In Criminal Fines And Recovery Money To Pay For High-Tech Upgrades

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York’s Finest are getting a new weapon in the war on crime: improved mobile communications.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. announced Thursday a $160 million initiative to provide NYPD officers with up to 41,000 mobile devices, including tablets.

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Every officer in the  force will get a new smartphone and 6,000 police cars will be equipped with tablets. The devices will feature carrying straps and shock-proof, weather-proof shells, CBS 2’s Dave Carlin reported.

“Information instantaneously going to each and every one of our almost 35,000 officers, something that was unimaginable a few years ago,” de Blasio said.

The mayor said the NYPD needs 21st century tools to deal with 21st century threats.

“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,” de Blasio said. “In an emergency, every minute counts, and this initiative will allow our officers in the field to get up-to-date, accurate information and process critical information anywhere in the city.”

Bratton said the devices will give officers timely access to critical information.

“This initiative will clearly result in more efficient crime-fighting, counter-terrorism measures, and service to the people of New York City,” Bratton said.

Deputy Commissioner Jessica Tisch said officers will get 911 calls on their tablets.

“They’ll see an overview of the location that they’re responding to, so are there any active warrants at that location, have there been arrests at that location, are there any 911 calls for shots fired at that location,” Tisch said.

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“This was a capability we never had in the field before. This was something that officers would have to go back to the command to see,” Tisch added.

Some officers told Carlin they will embrace the new technology, although some questioned whether it will be used track all their movements.

Bratton admitted the officers’ whereabouts will be monitored for their own safety.

“If they get in trouble and can’t give a location we’ll know exactly where they are because we have those capabilities,” Bratton said.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, the NYPD will begin distributing the new crime-fighting electronics in January.

The funding comes from criminal fines and recovery money.

“By allocating funds secured as a result of criminal misconduct back into our communities, we are placing real-time data in the hands of every police officer,” Vance stated. “Whether preventing everyday street crime or a potential act of terrorism, this will enable officers to better protect New Yorkers, while at the same time creating a fairer criminal justice system.”

Vance said the devices will include real-time 911 data, warrant information from federal, state and city databases, photographs of missing persons, suspects, Crime Stoppers posters and other persons of interest, and the latest cache of information on terror suspects.

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