Award: Mobility Initiative

January 1, 2017

Innovations in American Government Awards

  • AWARD WON: 2017 Top 25
  • AWARDEE: Mobility Initiative
  • DESIGNEE: City of New York, NY

Begun in January 2014, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) committed to changing their approach to policing in the city, implementing a Plan of Action blueprint designed to deliver improved police services in the city of New York and break down the barriers between two parties who should be natural allies: the police and the people they serve. One essential and enabling element of this strategy involved a revolution in NYPD technology, making the police more accessible to the community, and delivering tailored information and analytics to police officers where they need it the most — in the field. To that end, the NYPD used the opportunity to build out its “Platform for Transformation” — a vision to put a smartphone in the hands of all 36,000 officers and place a tablet in every emergency response vehicle. By providing e-mail addresses and phone numbers to the entire uniformed workforce, the smartphones and tablets make officers, including the new Neighborhood Coordination Officers, directly accessible to the community. In addition, the devices come equipped with a number of custom-developed applications, which were created based on the ideas and feedback of officers in the field. These applications enhance the NYPD’s delivery of police services, including a 911 dispatching app, which alerts officers to 911 calls even before they come over the radio, with associated information about the location they are responding to and decreasing response times; a search app, which provides enterprise search of all NYPD and certain state and federal databases, streamlining investigations; form creation apps, which allows officers to take digital reports on scene in the field, and eventually provide them online to the public, paving the way for the NYPD to go paperless; blast messaging, which allows the NYPD to send critical informational bulletins, including officer safety alerts and pictures of missing persons direct to officers’ smartphones; and a training app, which allows for distance learning, which has the potential to fundamentally transform the Department’s approach to educating its workforce.