October 27, 2014 -
Starting next year, the New York City Police Department will provide new biometric technology for its 35,000 police officers and 6,000 vehicles, according to a report by Government Technology.
The new biometric devices are part of the department’s $160 million program, funded entirely by criminal forfeiture money, designed to lower the number of arrests while boosting the number of summonses.
NYPD officers will be given biometric smartphones that allow them to browse databases, view wanted posters and scan suspects’ fingerprints.
Police vehicles will be outfitted with tablets that offer similar functionality.
Additionally, the NYPD will be able to monitor its officers and their use of these devices using a GPS.
“You can literally, with this technology, take a fingerprint on a street corner,” New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said in a press conference.
Some critics have already shared their concerns regarding the use of biometric devices in the field.
Christopher Dunn, associate legal director for the New York Civil Liberties Union, said that while he agreed that such devices could help lower the number of arrests, he believes that fingerprinting programs ought to be protected by stringent safeguards to prevent anyone from misusing the system.
Police Commissioner William J. Bratton said that police labor unions may have issues with the monitoring of police officers, but pointed out that the GPS system could help protect officers.