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San Francisco police developing apps to help officers fight crime in the field

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San Francisco's police department is deploying a new laptop program that will let officers file reports from the field as well as a new mobile app that will let officers help fight crime directly from their mobile device or tablet.

San Francisco police car (FLICKR)
San Francisco police car (FLICKR)

Police officers in San Francisco will soon begin testing a new computer app to help them file reports faster and easier than before — and a new mobile application is under development that will take things even further. 60 laptops are being provided by HP, and will be put into the hands of officers from the SFPD's current recruiting class. The app will let officers write up and file their reports when out on patrol, negating the need to run back to the station to handle paperwork, and could conceivably allow them to stay out on the streets from three to four extra hours a day.

The laptops are just the first step, however, with the SFPD also demoing a new mobile app at a conference on Monday. The new app, developed by San Francisco-based ArcTouch, could potentially allow officers to dictate their reports by voice, or immediately pull up information on a given vehicle simply by snapping a picture of a license plate — with all respective data immediately uploaded into the online case file, where it can be accessed by other officers. "To make it simple," San Francisco police chief Greg Suhr said, "this is in fact the Batcomputer." While the mobile app is still deep in development — it was estimated at being at least six months away — we must say we're excited to see how innovations that consumers are already enjoying on their smartphones can make fighting crime safer and easier for law enforcement professionals.