Baltimore Police Officers Get BlackBerry's for Work

By Adam Zeis on 4 Sep 2009 09:22 am EDT
Baltimore Berry

Baltimore will become one of the first agenices to issue patrol officers BlackBerry's for work purposes. The officers will be able to use the device to check warrants, criminal histories and suspect photos and become overall more efficent. The city will be using some of its $5.3 million of federal stimulus to purchase the 2,000 "Pocket Cops". Police Commissioner Frederick Bealefield II said:

"In the last 15 years in domestic law enforcement, we've trained cops around their vehicle. We've made their vehicle their mobile office. Except that now, they don't leave the office," Bealefeld said. "This Pocket Cop will help move them away from that car and break that tether." 

In early tests, officers using a BlackBerry have made twice as many arrests over a 3-month period than those equipped only with radios and laptops. No word of what exact devices the officers are using however. What are you throughts? Drop a comment and let us know. Thanks to everyone that sent this in!

Topics: News & Rumors

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Baltimore Police Officers Get BlackBerry's for Work


It has been tested a couple of years ago in England, they had the same positive result. officers could spend more time on the street and less in the office.

I doubt having a better BlackBerry would help criminals get away unless they had the PINs of every cop in the city that was on patrol...

Love the idea. If it is used right, it can be integrated into reports and photo exchanges to supervisors and so on. It would save on costs and create a truly efficient system. I guess it's up to the powers that be to ensure the effective use of the tool. If it is severly monitored/tampered with it may be a disabling tool.

I am actually shocked that this hadn't happened prior to this... i mean, seriously. Cost effective isn't it??

It's going to take more than a bunch of BlackBerrys to fix the crime problem in that city. I hope this initiative has a positive impact, Baltimore needs it.

Having lived in Baltimore my whole life, I certainly didn't expect to see this on the front page of CrackBerry. It hink it's a cool idea.

Are you serious? How Much, How Much?

WE ARE ARE DEBTOR NATION....How on earth can a city afford to give each and every officer a blackberry? Come on...Get serious.

So now we give our "Gods"
New Cars
New IPods
New Phones
& New Tasers to put your children in place with

I know right, come to think of it, how can we afford to give every officer, guns too! i mean its a reccession, a batton and and a 4 oz can of generic (not name brand) mase should be good enough.

My department hasn't seen a new car since 2008. And they're cut from the 2010 budget, too.

Things are lean in Law Enforcement, too, thank you very much.

Thanks for being so kind to "give" us Tasers to keep your kids inline, since you never did. It's appreciated.

I would really be freaked out if I got pulled over then got a PIN that said.... Please step out of the car. ;)

I am using its free version..excellant!!! you can surprise youyr friend. Just translate copy and send.

I am willing to get a pro copy free.

I'm jealous!! I work for a small department and have been dropping hints to my chief for quiet some time. We are going to be changing providers soon so lets all pray we get blackberrys too! Congrats Baltimore PD.

Officers in Carmel, IN all have Blackberry's and have had for quite sometime. Most of the agencies in the north suburbs of Indianapolis have BB's.

Do you think they have trapster?

I know of a department in Arizona that has been using BB 8350i's since the phone has been released. So these aren't the first police officers to have been issued BB's.

I was born and raised in Baltimore (county, not city) but I spent a lot of time in the city, and my personal opinion is that in theory this is excellent, but in reality it's not going to make much of a difference unless you get rid of the crooked cops who are telling all of the dealers when the busts are going to happen or telling the kids where the drunk driving check points are going to be or even telling the kids which stores won't card.

Now, in fairness, I haven't been back to Baltimore since I left 7 years ago so things COULD have changed, but somehow I doubt it's gotten any better.

I love my hometown don't get me wrong, but just like all politics you have your good and you have your bad and the bad just sticks out more than the good...


Yes - thank you. not sure why most folks want to use the plural additive instead of the possessive.

Kinda like it's and its. Common grammar issues. No biggie in the grand scheme of things I suppose, but still...

an apple pie? Spelling is spelling. The spelling and grammar on this board (and all over the web) are atrocious. The English language is dead.

I work for a private security company and we have been offering a piece of specialty equipment that is Windows Mobile based. It sounds like the "Pocket Cop" is going to be able to do everything that our equipment does and I know every customer that has one of our guards using one is never disappointed. For a city that has the 4th highest violent crime rate, anything to keep the ball rolling can't hurt.

There should be no apostrophe. These are Blackberrys, not Blackberry's. Here are 5 Blackberrys. My Blackberry's key is broken. Hope this helps.

I respect this new idea...and with BBM they may be able to talk in a walkie talkie type of way...being able to quickly set your status to the location of a crime scene or anything similar is a good jump for law enforcement. They could use maps to help navigate to different areas on foot as well. As lone as they are using a good BB with an updated OS they should be well off...they have the perfect platform to do this on...

"Blackberry's" shouldn't have the apostrophe. It's pleural, not possessive.

Sorry for being a grammar nazi, but Blackberry users are supposed to be more intelligent.


PocketCop is developed and produced by the same company that makes the software for our MDTs (laptops) in our patrol cars, which allows us to run warrants checks and pull driver license photos. If set up and used correctly, this would be a welcome addition to any police officer's tool belt.

Baltimore is not the first, County Sheriff's department where I live (upstate NY) issued them to thier deuputys a year or two ago.

Hopefully they will go with a network that can support their needs. Imagine being able to view street level web cams while on patrol or responding to calls in the area of a camera.


PocketCop requires InfoServerTM, BIO-key’s mobile communications server platform (version 5.0 or later) connected to a public wireless network.

PocketCop is optimized for the BlackBerry 8830 smartphone on RIM OS v4.3 and operates on BlackBerry 87xx, 72xx and 71xx series devices running RIM OS v4.1 and v4.2.

PocketCop operates on a variety of devices running Windows Mobile OS v5.0 and v6.0, including the Samsung BlackJack and Motorola Q smartphones. Please check with us or your preferred carrier for product availability on other platforms.

As a current resident of the city I really think the money could have been used more effectively. A lot of cops here are corrupt, (Yesterday a cop was arrested in a sting after holding up an undercover cop posing as a drug dealer on a street corner for $70. Later three bags of cocaine were found in his locker) it isn't a rare occurrence to find a dirty cop. Giving the police a new tool would be great but while they are cutting hours and in the middle of a making a new contract with the city police union it isn't the right time. The Mayor Dixon has been indicted so many times I've lost count and the state of the rest of Baltimore politics is not any better. I can't remember exactly how many police commissioners there have been but that office is a rotating door.

Don't mistake my statement for hating all police, there are many good cops here but there are many inept ones who bring the unsolved homicide rate sky high and their inability to protect the few witnesses that do come forward is destroying the city.

2 officers and a sergeant were suspended for not taking a report of a rape. It is great technology but when you have so many other problems it is a band aid on a broken neck.

Also a good article on the blackberrys use in B-more at the Baltimore Sun

"Still, the announcement brought its share of naysayers, including officers who posted their names and complaints on the city Police Department's public Facebook page, calling the pending purchase a waste and noting that the cash-strapped city can barely keep enough batteries on hand to keep their police radios running."

Great idea regardless how it's funded. Just keep in mind this so called "stimulus" will benefit Mexico where the devices are made and Canada, where they are designed. The local carrier will see some revenue from this but nothing that will "stimulate" the U.S. economy.

I live in Baltimore city and this is such a waste of time and money. Cops can't even solve a case when its handed to them on a platter here.

Long story short: my house was robbed and they took a device that was trackable by IP (my PS3, which was being auto-logged into my account). Cops were completely clueless and refused to attempt to track this device to its current location (there was a string of robberies in my area that day, possibly the same person).

I'm sure half of the issued BB's won't even be turned on, let alone known how to be used.

so because they wouldnt track the ip on your ps3 this is a waste of time and money? i'm sure they would be, as i am, clueless about how to start tracking ip's. unlike what you see on tv, not every cop has a csi unit on hand to find every lost or stolen laptop phone or ps3 for that matter. was you ps3 eventually found? have you followed or did you follow up on it at all.

Why did they use stimulus money? The city of Baltimore could have just used the Target gift cards stolen by the city's mayor, Sheila Dixon?

My husband's department just issued them HTC Touch Pro's for the exact same purpose. He's not even a little bit "techy" when it comes to phones...he simply wants a phone with Caller ID and an address book. I was the one who set it up for him and taught him how to use it. Blackberry is such a better product, IMO, and I wish that's what I had been setting up!!!

I think it's a bad idea. They should use the money on better equipment (i.e. radios and better laptops) for their patrol cars. What happens during shift change and the person before has screwed up the settings or it damaged while arresting a suspect. I have been using blackberrys for years and RIM doesn't make one that could survive 24/7 on the streets of Baltimore.

AWESOME! Its about time the law enforcement community as a whole realized what a powerful tool the BlackBerry can be. Officers who do 'plain clothes-street work' generally spend too much time in the office with research and the like; especially, if their car is an unmarked unit that can't bear a computer. However, simultaneously training a couple hundred officers on how to use the BlackBerry so as to utilize 100% of its capabilities will be a monumental task. I hope there's some type of [all inclusive] manual that can be obtained or printed to aid in the familiarization of the device. The owner's manual is only good for starting fires.

at the pocket cop software, looks neat, but i can do the same thing with my laptop in car. i think where this will help is for the foot patrol guys. they wont have to worry about not having the tools there for them. i like the idea! for a patrol unit, it almost seems redundant, but for the foot patrol, or bike guys, this is awesome! kudos to the baltimore pd for being proactive!

I dont think this is really a good idea, I mean don get my wrong im sure it could make things happen faster and what not, but at the same time I can definitely see the cops wasting time on BBm or surfing the net instead of doing whatever has to be done, and its a distraction IMO

Good idea and good look for the Blackberry. I do think though that the Blackberries that are given to officers should have a special (slight) design. Maybe there can be a collaboration between RIM and the cops.

Think there will be a lot of restrictions when it comes to internet browsing and social networking apps? I'm thinking most likely since it's part of the office same rules will apply,

This is my Blackberry story of the week.

if its like any other major metropolitan police department- the majority of the "new" devices will be issued to every 'boss' and his aide, then select cops who dont work the street- leaving a handfull for those patrol officers who it would benefit the most.

XWAVE has had a program called OnPatrol for at least 5 years. This isn't really new, I guess it is just "News" in Balitmore.

Most law enforcement agency executives use a BlackBerry. The street cop's usually have some kind of non-BlackBerry handhelld with limited functions,

and that last thing a cop wants to do is be looking at a blackberry. they shoot at cops here. seen the wire?

I think they startet too late with this. The blackberry is the best and fastest way to communicate in an accurate way. I think blackberrys are predestinated to get in police officers hands as well as firefighters or people like them!

But they should get Quickpull:D Just in case, u know, if the blackberry lames again just like my bold does:D

greetz from Germania;)

Although I can't speak to the political and law enforcement situation in Baltimore, I think that the use of mobile technology can't fail to be a good thing.

Missing child ? The picture can be sent to every officer in a few seconds, no matter where they are.

Need to check a licence plate ? Just need to type it in.

Need to take a statement ? Berries can record voice, or you can quickly take notes, both of which can be submitted to who they need to get to.

I get that some people would rather see money spent elsewhere, but these are tools that will help officers be more effective. And that can't be a bad thing.

Wow, one of the first agencies to issue patrol officers blackberry's? 5 comments already posted state the local PD has them, all 3 agencies, city, county and state patrol officers in my area have blackberry's for this purpose, since when is Baltimore the first at anything?

THE bad guys have been using BB all ready ! its about time a day late and a dollar short like always !

Wouldn't it have been cheaper to take one of the officers just killed in the line of duty and turn him into a cyborg that simply goes out and kicks ass? I've seen The Wire and that city needs way too much help, more than a simple phone can handle.

I'm glad I live in Cleveland, we spend money in better places. For instance, brand new 1998 Crown Vics have been popping up all over the place. Yea!

Of course, in all seriousness, anything that helps a police officer is good in my book.

Awesome idea.

When I first joined the force back in 2007 I bought an 8830 to use on work duty and for personal use. Since then I have upgraded to the storm and still end up using it for work quite a bit. While stuck at the ER waiting for a person to clear I can start my report and even submit it if I need to. I love my 'berry!

being an officer myself i think it is outstanding!! Hope we will be the second to do so!! i've passed this information along to all my law enforcement people.

Most of these comments are well thought out and well written. Some, however, make me think I'm at Amateur Night somewhere

Very impressive. Way to go Baltimore PD!!! Hopefully this will go out across the country as anything that helps the police nab more bad guys is a good thing. Again, congrats to Baltimore for being so forward thinking.

There are pros and cons to this. First off, funding wise I think everyone should understand that these BlackBerrys that cost around $500 are most likely replacing (in some form) the $2000 to $3000 computer. Utilizing this tool to exchange and send pictures in reference to crimes is a big plus. Just think, after a robbery or other crime a picture of a suspect could be sent to every officer in the city within minutes. And blah blah blah with the "O now they are going to be texting while driving and blah blah blah". So do you and so do they already without them. Point blank, this is a great tool that if utilized correctly will greatly enhance the efficiency of any police organization. Funding and "crooked" cops has absolutely nothing to do with the whole point of whether or not this idea would be a benefit to law enforcement, as it clearly is.

Some officers in Leicestershire have been issued with BB Bold's at the same time as it was officially released by Orange in the UK. They offer email and access to some of the force systems but not calling, texting or BB messenger features. Some people seem to get on well with them others think they're a waste of time. Time will tell if they manage to give full access to police systems such as PNC.

Having lived and worked in Baltimore all my life I can say that the officers (family included about 15 city cops) will well served by these devices.. Good to see tech helping out the inner city..

I think its really cool that the Baltimore Police Department has such a great tool to help them in the everyday.

the enemy is now using the same piece of technology i am! screw the pigs... thats what the black panthers used to call em, thats what imma call em

My Dept tried this a couple of years ago...they spent too much money and could not get out program to work with the Blackberry, no one was happy with them. I know I got one heck of an expensive paper weight for about a year before they took them up and decided to scrap the idea!

I use a Toshiba Toughbook in my cruiser with the biggest benefit being the large screen which can be seen when driving. I can get pictures, driver/warrant/criminal record info from two sources, MobileCop and the state computers called CJISWeb.

PocketCop, which is used on the Blackberry is a mobile version of MobileCop. I am unsure how my PD would use our in house records system. That would require costly programming on the part of the vendor to make that accessable.

I know the Mass State Police Were using Blackberry's at Logan Airport after 9/11.

I would be in favor of it for my PD.

The cost of the Blackberry is initially covered by a grant. The long term costs are covered by not replacing laptops in cars (Panasonic Toughbooks at around $4k a pop).

To say they shouldnt have them because some are corrupt is silly. Some were corrubt before Blackberrys and on a whole, the numbers of corrupt Police are low. It seems high seeing as everytime a Police get's grabbed it ends up on the news.

I think the conversation should focus on whether or not the device will enhance Police services. Whether or not a Police has a Blackberry or not does not impact response times. That is a political issue to be handled by your Mayor.

We have several Police in my 80 man PD who have our own and we use them frequently to ahre infor and pictures on BBM. I wosh our PD would spring for them for all with PocketCop.

Like anythng else, it is only as good as the support and the end user.