HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — More than 90 percent of Americans use a cell phone. But it might shock you to know that most police departments don’t issue them to officers. This week, the City of Hampton became one of the first in Hampton Roads to change that.
Before every patrol, officers take stock of all the tools they’ll need. Those items you don’t find in the trunk, you’ll see around the packed belt, with the exception of a smart phone.
“It’s rare, very rare. I’m not for sure how many jurisdictions do it,” Assistant Chief Orrin Gallop said.
But that is about to change in Hampton. Starting this week, every Hampton street officer gets a brand new iPhone 6. Gallop said it was a no brainer.
“Our whole profession is based off of information,” he said.
The plan starts very simple. It’ll give people in Hampton an easier way to reach the officers that patrol their neighborhood.
“On a cell phone they can send [officers] a message. They can call them. When [officers] come back to work, they’ll be able to answer the calls,” he said.
Then you add in the new app that Hampton released on Monday, Connect Protect. That’s where people can send videos and pictures to police headquarters in real-time.
Gallop said in the near future, those pictures and videos will then go right out with to officer on patrol to his phone.
“If they say there is a suspect that’s in the area King Street or down Big Bethel Road, all we have to do is alert the officers that are working that location and then we can put that information out to them,” he said. “It’s changed a lot. When I first came on 24 years ago, only like three or four officers actually had cell phones.”
Hampton police are arming their officers with a powerful weapon: Instant information.
Gallop also said that in emergency situations, people should still call 911.