The NYPD has been undergoing transformative technological change, implementing a number of initiatives that advance the Department's ability to fight crime and keep the community safe. Some of these initiatives include:
The distribution of smartphones to all police officers and tablets to patrol vehicles is fundamentally changing and permanently improving all field work in the New York City Police Department. Made possible through Asset Forfeiture Funds from Mayor Bill de Blasio and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, the program greatly broadens officers' ability to retrieve up-to-date, accurate information needed to fight crime and terrorism. The phones and tablets connect to a mobile version of the NYPD's Domain Awareness System, one of the world's largest networks of cameras, license plate readers, and radiological censors, designed to detect and prevent terrorist acts, but also of great value in criminal investigations. Some of the benefits of the mobile technology include:
In March 2015, the Department began employing ShotSpotter, a technology that pinpoints the sound of gunfire with real-time locations, even when no one calls 911 to report it. This technology triangulates where a shooting occurred and alerts police officers to the scene, letting them know relevant information: including the number of shots fired, if the shooter was moving at the time of the incident (e.g., in a vehicle), and the direction of the shooter's movement. ShotSpotter enables a much faster response to the incident and the ability to assist victims, gather evidence, solve crimes, and apprehend suspects more quickly.
The Department has rolled out a number of applications on devices being distributed to all unformed members of the service. Among them is a mobile version of the Domain Awareness System (DAS), a crime-fighting and counterterrorism tool, jointly developed by the NYPD and Microsoft, which utilizes the largest networks of cameras, license plate readers,and radiological sensors in the world. DAS also utilizes Automatic Vehicle Locator, a GPS system currently installed in over 5,000 police vehicles, that provides enormous advantages in managing patrol and ensuring officer safety.
The new mobile applications also allow access to relevant 911 data, wanted posters, and alerts. A translator application helps officers communicate with community members who do not speak English.
The Department is in the process of building a high-band width, redundant network that will provide high-speed data access to every NYPD facility. When completed, this system will be the third-largest network in New York City, and the largest not owned by telephone companies. To date, more than 70 NYPD commands have already joined the network, and the Department is adding new commands at the rate of three per week. Of critical importance, the network can transmit live video footage, giving every precinct access to surveillance cameras that historically have only been monitored from headquarters. When the two new data centers are complete, the NYPD will have full redundancy and back-up in both the data centers and the network for the first time, so any failure of part of the system will have no effect on operations.
The NYPD is replacing the entirety of its radio infrastructure for modern technology and is expected to go online in 2016. The work includes the long-overdue transition of the Transit Bureau radio system from VHF to UHF, used by the rest of the NYPD and other first responders in the city.
The Department has also digitized CompStat reports used to help in crime-fighting strategy sessions. The reports allow NYPD personnel to apply analytic tools to the underlying data to chart, map, and graph crime patterns. A version of the digitized report is also available to the public, posted on the CompStat website each Wednesday.