BlackBerry on the Frontline: Helping Police Forces Better Protect Communities


In my previous post, I told you I’d be writing about some of the impressive ways governments today are using BlackBerry® devices, and how their work is innovative and visionary. One place you can really see the impact is in the area of public safety.

Police forces around the world have to keep up with technology – the bad guys certainly are! Law enforcement also has to ensure mobile solutions meet stringent security standards – ones that involve extra levels of authentication and encryption that prevent sensitive police records from unauthorized access. And policing is no more immune to budget restrictions than any other level of government, so cost-effectiveness has to be balanced with the real returns of making the mobile investment.

Let me share how accessing police databases while away from police cars is helping to revolutionize three police departments across Canada and the US: The Baltimore Police Department (Baltimore PD) in the US, and Chatham-Kent Police Services and Waterloo Regional Police Service (WRPS) in Canada.

Police departments can leverage BlackBerry® smartphones to access police databases, helping to cost-effectively enhance frontline policing:

  • Baltimore PD has 2,000 officers who use InterAct™ PocketCop on BlackBerry smartphones
  • WRPS in Canada deployed 300 BlackBerry smartphones with MPANiche
  • Chatham-Kent Police Services, also in Canada, built a custom application for 170 officers with their partner Mobile Innovations

What’s interesting about these apps is the obvious benefit of having critical police information in the officer’s hands versus having to go back to a computer in the police cruiser. This means an officer can verify if a suspect has a criminal record and if they match the mugshot. This allows greater efficiency and safety for officers in their daily work. And while we’re talking about safety, all three forces use built-in BlackBerry GPS technology to help pinpoint and map an officer’s location while away from vehicles – just in case they run into trouble while on foot.

Having a way to more securely access police databases like NCIC, MVA and CPIC from a BlackBerry smartphone is a huge improvement over in-car computers and radios – and it’s all done with the kind of security police forces demand. Chatham-Kent Police Services even uses an enhanced BlackBerry security tool like the BlackBerry® Smart Card Reader as well as SafeNet® Smart Card technology to enable multi-factor authentication, which means that the officer must confirm their identity through multiple sources before the information can be accessed.

In some cases, BlackBerry technology may even lower operational costs as compared to outfitting vehicles with hardwired laptops.

When it comes to public safety, BlackBerry is making an obvious impact – for the officers, for IT teams who need to ensure security, and for the communities the police are sworn to protect.

Have you seen a police officer use a BlackBerry smartphone on the job? Share your story.

About Wes M

Wes Montee is currently the Government Market Development Manager at Research In Motion with responsibility for North America. He is dedicated to promoting the BlackBerry solution & applications to Federal, State, Provincial and Local Governments. Prior to joining RIM in September of 08’, Wes held a variety of marketing, sales and sales support positions at Sprint over a span of 14 years. Recent leadership positions included managing the Government and Utilities marketing team as well as building Sprint’s Higher Education vertical marketing team. Wes is committed to building strong partnerships with customers, carriers and application partners to ensure customers realize the full potential of wireless solutions on BlackBerry.

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