If you’ve ever seen a police officer examining a handheld phone, you might have thought you were seeing someone check their text messages or even the weather the way so many of us do. What you may not know is that many officers use handheld apps on agency-issued smartphones for everything from access to records and dispatch info, to other more specialized information.

Back in 2019, Police1 wrote that mobile apps were changing the face of law enforcement. “Now that mobile technologies are fully integrated into our personal lives,” wrote Laura Neitzel, “police agencies are more open to equipping their superheroes with supercomputers: mobile devices and applications that leverage the ease of consumer applications but are built specifically to address the needs of law enforcement. Mobile apps can help keep officers more situationally aware while making tasks like reporting and evidence collection in the field more efficient and accurate.”

She goes on, “Not only does the embrace of mobile technology make sense for safety, efficiency, and accuracy, it will become increasingly necessary as the new generation of digital natives enters the profession already accustomed to mobile technology and the expectation of being constantly connected.”

Not only can mobile apps be used for communications, dispatch, records management and access, and even monitoring of biometric data, mobile applications can be used to assist in evidence collection and to access information across departments and agencies. Interoperability, in fact, remains one of the more critical frontiers of the digital revolution in law enforcement. The proliferation of different technologies and systems means that getting these systems to share information and “talk” to each other can only help all the agencies involved. “As millennials and Gen Z (born after 1995) enter the workforce,” Neitzel concludes, “mobility will be the norm… [and in the near future] mobile devices on 5G networks will give law enforcement unprecedented capabilities to share vital information that will lead to safer, smarter, and more connected communities.”

Caliber Public Safety, for example, offers several mobile apps. One of these, Mobile 10, operates on Windows devices and offers critical communications to those in the field. This includes access to real-time active incidents, multiple CJIS queries (including NCIC), and mapping to locate and route to incidents to quickly reach those in need. Running on the same architecture, Caliber’s PocketCop® provides vital information to an officer’s iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, giving law enforcement personnel faster access to mission-critical information right on the phone they’re already carrying. The software includes built-in navigation and user-to-user communications.

No matter what apps an agency chooses to deploy, there’s no doubt that the landscape of public safety has changed forever thanks to these mobile applications. Caliber Public Safety remains on the cutting edge of software development to serve public safety. No matter what the future brings, public safety personnel will have ever-more improved applications to use to support their vital missions within the communities they serve.