The largest police force in the U.S. shuns iOS and Android, goes with Windows Phones

Williams Pelegrin
The largest police force in the U.S. shuns iOS and Android, goes with Windows Phones
According to a recent report, the New York Police Department equipped its officers with Windows Phones rather than iPhones or Android phones. The NYPD argues that Windows Phone is more secure and has better remote management.

At this point, it is fair to say that smartphones have been around for more than a few years. You would not know it if you were a New York Police Department officer, however, since it took the largest police force in the U.S. until 2015 to issue smartphones and email addresses. What smartphones did the NYPD choose, you ask? The Lumia 830 and Lumia 640 XL, reports CNET.

The NYPD’s decision to go with Microsoft’s mobile operating system seems to confound more than a few, since Windows Phone’s 2.3 percent U.S. market share is anemic when compared to Android’s 65.2 percent and iOS’ 30.9 percent. According to the report, however, the NYPD did look closely at the two latter platforms before opting for the former, arguing that its decision came down to better security features and remote management.

Opting for Windows Phone allowed New York City’s police force to work with Microsoft to create seven NYPD-specific apps. One such app includes 911, which allows officers to directly get 911 calls instead of having dispatchers read the reports to them. Thanks to the app, response times for crimes decreased by 12 percent compared to 2015’s statistics.

Related: NYPD computer system can’t report on evidence, cash, or other seized property

The apps also allow officers to do everything from filling and filing paperwork and reports to staying up to date on department policies, the latter of which used to require officers to travel to Queens in order to accomplish.

Switching to smartphones has already produced tangible benefits, such as being able to more quickly solve crimes and improve community relations by having folks directly reach out to officers. The switch has introduced some headaches, however, such as damaged and lost devices. Furthermore, some officers were worried about being tracked through their phones.

Even so, every NYPD officer is now equipped with a Windows Phone smartphone, with the force looking to upgrade to a Windows 10 Mobile device by 2017’s summer months. Whatever phone it opts for, the NYPD wants officers to be able to tap into New York City’s security cameras and to have two-way digital dispatches with other officers.