Civil Rights Reporter
The Black Lives Matter chapter of Greater New York expressed some concerns over New York Police Department officers receiving iPhones to better crack down on crime, the chapter president told The Daily Caller News Foundation.
The BLM chapter President Hawk Newsome believes that while there may be better ways to spend the money, he can get behind the program if it helps officers fight crime more efficiently, he told TheDCNF in an interview.
“Naturally, my knee-jerk reaction is that there are better ways to invest that money in the community, but if it allows them to do their job more efficiently, then I’m for it. My concern is that it will be a tool they use to harass young people of color,” Newsome told TheDCNF.
The New York Police Department started switching to iPhones 7 or 7 Plus from Nokia phones in December 2017 to allow their officers to target crime more methodically.The iPhones enable officers to pull up reports, directly receive 911 phone calls, access surveillance photos of a suspect minutes after they commit a crime, among other things, the department noted.
The department touted a 14 percent reduction in the amount of time it takes for an officer to respond to a crime, with one cop declaring the iPhones are “the ultimate tool to have as a patrol cop.” The department considers the iPhones free because the phones came as an upgrade to the $160 million Nokia phone rollout but the department did have to pay for the new phones’ software and services.
One issue Newsome has with the new technology is the department’s ability to pull up criminal backgrounds on their phone. He saw the necessity of needing to do so while looking for a suspect, however, he warned of an officer’s ability to do so at random to pull over citizens.
Newsome would also prefer to see the money be invested in different programs, like racial sensitivity training, de-escalation methods, and training where the biggest criticizers of police can offer advice to the department. Ultimately, Newsome would like to see a society where each neighbor looks out for each other in their community.
“Until we reach that point, if they can respond to an emergency faster, that would be a good thing,” he said to TheDCNF, adding, “I believe that police should be training the community in how to police themselves, teaching neighbors how to look out for neighbors: that’s the ultimate de-escalation training.
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