San Francisco proves a smarter government is better for the citizens

150 150 Cheryl Getuiza

(photo credit: torbakhopper)

If you ask any native San Franciscan or a San Francisco history buff, they’ll be proud to tell you, the city by the Bay has been the home of many “firsts.”

The City had the first cable car service. It was the starting point of several epoch-making airplane flights. San Francisco was also the first area to launch US-based ocean travel. In recent years, San Francisco became the first city to ban plastic bags.

Not too shabby, San Francisco. Not too shabby at all. As if those weren’t great achievements already, city leaders are throwing one more “first” on the list: The City can now brag that the San Francisco Police Department is the first in the state to use technology to improve public safety with JusticeMobile, a mobile application.

“This is a game changer. The JusticeMobile smartphone gives officers on the streets instant access to law enforcement data where information in real time counts. The City’s violent crime rates are now at historic lows and implementing innovative crime prevention strategies like this will help keep San Francisco as one of the safest big cities in America,” said Mayor Edwin Lee.

Officers patrolling the streets of San Francisco will not only have their gun, pepper spray, and a taser to help fight crime, they can now have add their smartphone to this arsenal as well.

“San Francisco will be a safer place because it’s a smarter place. This is the force multiplier SFPD has been working toward. In this case, some of San Francisco’s finest citizens came together to give ‘San Francisco’s Finest’ a 21st century tool that will go a long way towards making the City the safest big city in the country,” said SFPD Chief Greg Suhr.

The smartphone app allows officers to have access to the California Law Enforcement Telecommunications system (CLETS) which gives them local, state, and federal law enforcement data in the palm of their hands. Previously, officers had to use a phone or radio to call personnel to do background checks.

“We have mobile apps for everything from banking to board games on our phones. But, incredibly, law enforcement hasn’t had the tools to access important criminal justice information on handhelds and tablets until now,” said California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

“JusticeMobile is a quantum leap forward for public and peace officer safety, and it demonstrates our commitment to facilitating the adoption of new technology by law enforcement.”

The smartphones have been in pilot since June 2013 and are now being rolled out to all SFPD officers, which amounts to about 1,600.

SFPD officers will now be able to identify suspects, search decades of police records, document crime scenes and take video and audio accounts of crimes then upload them at the touch of a button for sharing and mapping department-wide. Also, every 911 call made will be accessible instantly.

More than 3,600 Los Angeles police officers also will soon receive the app, which was created by the Attorney General’s Office and several San Francisco city departments using federal, state and local funds.


Cheryl Getuiza

All stories by: Cheryl Getuiza