California police department rolls out iPads as newest law enforcement tool

Fighting crime has taken a new step into the digital age as mobile devices are starting to be seen by the side of police officers.

A recent article in CITEworld profiles the Redlands Police Department in southern California and the steps it has taken to ensure its iPhone and iPad deployment was successful. The mobile device movement started in 2009 when the department was forced to layoff 19 police officers. Faced with the increased pressure of protecting the people with fewer officers, the department needed to find something to increase efficiency.

The officers were still using pagers and old-style cell phones to communicate. This made a technology upgrade the most logical choice.

"We realized that there are so many other things that you can be doing with smartphones," Lt. Travis Martinez, of the department's Community Policing Bureau, told the news source. "We needed to do more with less. The department decided that smartphones could be one of those force multipliers we needed."

The department applied and was awarded a grant that it used to buy 110 iPhones and 67 iPads. The gadgets have been used for a number of different tasks. The first officers on the scene are now taking video and photos to instantly email to other officers who are en route to a scene.

On top of that, departments are running more efficiently with the help of mobile applications that are allowing officers to fill out paperwork digitally. This makes it easier to share information and access data after the fact. They are also testing out adding iPads into each squad car.

The functionality of mobile devices is now helping to keep the public safe. By partnering with an IT consulting firm that is familiar with Mac integration, any company can successfully add iPads into its operations.