NYPD Deputy IT Commissioner defends department's use of Windows Phones

News broke this week that, after equipping its officers with 36,000 Windows Phones over the past few years, the NYPD is preparing to make the switch to iPhones later this year. The original report by the New York Post, however, referred to the Windows Phones currently in use as "useless," a characterization that has resulted in a thorough, and fiery response from the NYPD's Deputy Commissioner for IT, Jessica Tisch (via Neowin).

In a post on NYPD News, Tisch defended the department's decision to outfit officers with Windows Phones, a project that started with an initial trial in 2014. Countering the Post's assertion that department's current fleet of phones is useless, Tisch stated:

This Sunday, while a Post reporter was writing her story, NYPD officers used their smartphones to help respond to over 25,000 911 calls; ran 18,000 searches; and viewed 1,080 flyers of missing or wanted persons. Sunday is a slow day.

Further, Tisch contends that its efforts with Windows Phones have been a boon, monetarily speaking. As part of the department's contract, smartphones were provided at no cost. Overall, the NYPD's smartphone initiative is currently 45 percent under budget, Tisch says.

While the decision to make the move to iPhones this year seemed abrupt from the outside, Tisch notes that it's actually been under consideration since last year, when the department learned that improvements Apple had made would help the NYPD switch platforms in a cost effective manner. Tisch doesn't address the fact that Microsoft has also ended support for Windows Phone 8.1, but that played a role as well, according to the the Post's earlier report.

As Tisch describes it, Windows Phones have been a success in helping NYPD officers respond to 911 calls more quickly. She closes:

The smartphones have made our cops smarter, faster, and more agile in their response to 911 calls, with response times down more than 8 percent. Whether it's the parent whose child has gone missing, the driver who needs a copy of an accident report, or a domestic violence victim whose life may be saved by a faster emergency response, the smartphone program has made the NYPD, already New York's Finest, even finer.Sure doesn't sound like a "useless smartphone," does it?

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • NY Post: Just the usual pop culture narrative pablum that anything not a hit with consumers has no value and therefore should be shunned. 
  • It's not their fault Microsoft is a master at disappointing people.
  • Amen. Satya is best thing happen to MS stock and worse thing happen to consumer. Windows phone was doing ok and was slowly gaining momentum until he showed to kill it. Lol he thought he can create new category using hololense and now we have ARkit and ARcore. Satya in tech it's alway about market share and ecosystem first profit second. You sir failed that to please stock holders
  • MP is one of the most practical phone. The issue is loss of focus by Satya. He has thrown the towel. I can turn around WP and seize at least a 30% market within 6 months. Microsoft is sitting and sleeping on a WP jackpot.
  • What fault do they have that Microshit is a bunch of incompetents and liars?
  • Why does anyone even take the New York Post seriously?
  • So why are they ditching windows phones then ? :)
  • apple sale the iphone to them at a price they can take now 
  • Easy. The life cycle of those old Nokia devices ran out. They need to slowly start phasing in new devices. MS doesn't have anything viable to offer.. Boom!
    iPhones are a given, because it's not like they can go with Android devices for any kind of secure use🙄🙄🙄
  • Certain Android phones have higher government ratings for security than iPhone or Windows Phone. Samsung's Knox software in particular. When Windows Phone or iPhone is approved for presidential use, then you can make blanket stateents about an open platform. The most secure devices are running Android.
  • Security is part of the more generic "reliability" that Droids aren't necessarily guaranteed to have. In a life and death situation you can't exactly count on an Android not requiting a restart or something. That has always been Android's achilles heel and no matter how you ry to promote a certain brand, history shows it's always a hit or miss situation with Android. Since Windows Phones are out, iPhones are a clear choice with this line of work as they require quick, hassle-free and easy operation with no need for "customization".
  • Honestly? In a life, or death, situation I would pray to have an iPhone, at this point.. Windows Phone would have to be my second choice... Sorry, WM10 just doesn't have that super reliability it used to have.... But, if I had an Android device I would just use it to beat myself to death with so as to go ahead and get it over with.. 😂😂😂
  • Haha to Windows 10m's credit, it will atleast give us a loading screen to let us know our death its happening.
  • walk me through on the iPhone to diffuse bomb or help the injuired lives , too noisy let's just get a $5 earphone.  but where is the headphone jack?  Where is the Dongle  (boooommmm.......)
  • Trump was moved from Android to an iPhone as president. So already happened
  • No, iPhone isn't approved for presidential use as far as I could tell. iPhone has known security issues and they would not be able to lock it down without Apple's help. It seems one of his assistants use an iPhone to tweet from his account, but tweets from him directly still seem to be from Android. That is the best into I could find.
  • Does scroogle pay you to come on Windows Central and shill for lagdroid?
  • A few years down the line, they will have to replace the iPhones too and whichever then that can serve their needs will be taken. Only the extreme ends of the spectrum, the die hard fans, will swear their lives to the brand with mouth frothing holding pitchforks and torches to hunt for the heretics. Those in between, the average Joe are already switching around platforms whenever their contracts are up. Such a big fuss created, sigh.
  • ha I knew there was (more than meets the eye) on this one :)
  • Why listen to yet another "fruity farm fanboi fraternity fart " when you can get the real story from the users themselves? Of course! The truth doesn't suit the author's purpose!
  • I hope the NY Post doesn't trip on that dropped microphone.
  • I also hope they don't use 3.5mm headphone jacks. =P
  • They can drill them in per the youtube instructions.
  • I am confused.... I thought she was the one that was just dissing the decision to go to WPs in the first place, saying that no one person should make that kind of decision?
  • That wasn't her statement. Actually, they were talking about her. She is defending the choice to use Windows phones because she made the decision originally. It sounds like the department was annoyed because Windows phone was obviously dead when she made the decision. No technical person would have made the choice to rely on Windows phone at that time.
  • Technical persons do not pay for the phones. Taking the apps situation out of the question (I doubt they will need Snapchat or Candy Crush on their phones), the functionality, integration, security and especially the cost are making the Windows phone then the best choice.
  • Taking the app situation back to the picture, they will now have to recreate all the applications they've been using, and since we are talking about security and stability sensitive apps, that won't be quick or cheap.
  • Sorry, I meant technical advisors. Articles about this case have stated that advisors likely would not have recommended relying on Windows phones. It was made to seem that Tisch had made the choice to use Windows Phones without consulting experts. Here is the original article. http://nypost.com/2017/08/28/nypd-needs-to-replace-36k-useless-smartphones/
  • Hire her Microsoft!
  • So that means the media was the one using the "useless" label, not the NYPD. What a surprise, the media once again creating the news, not reporting on it.
  • It depends on how you see it. The reporter is suggesting the fleet of phones has become useless before reaching their true potential because other models - say, iPhones - wouldn't have gone obsolete so soon. They are not saying the phones are "useless" in the sense that they didn't work for as long as they were in operation.
  • and MS is just going to stand still? really? would it hurt MS (at least just for PR sake) to work a deal with HP and Alcatel, to provide them with Elites and Idol 4S?  Those phones are still in support and being manufactured. why let NY police trow all that work and development away and send them to apple? why not work with them to give them a stopgap while they get their WOA solution ready?   Geez Nadella is really blowing it here. You're not IBM MS !! you need the consumers and you need MOBILE !!  
  • They're not looking for high end devices. When they initially chose WP it was because cheap, reliable devices were readily available from Nokia. The Elite and Idol are too expensive. My guess is the iPhones they're getting are SEs.
  • i understand that, but those are the only ones left that are supported and on production, my suggestion was for MS to foot the bill (with hp and alcatel maybe) the good PR of MS having your back for using their tech should more than offset a couple of millions lost on the subsidy
  • And if their custom apps were coded with WP8.1 in mind and are using Silverlight, they soon won't work on W10M unless they are rewritten as UWP.
  • FREE: "As part of the department's contract, smartphones were provided at no cost."  Hardware had ZERO cost, only costs would have been app development.
  • It had probably less to do with the price of the device then people think.  I bet most of it is in developing apps and securing these devices for their specific needs.  At a federal level we contract special apps for internal deployment out to our smart phone users that are not available to the general public.  Trying to find a Windows Phone developer is probably not easy and even worse harder to create the usually required competition between vendors.  I have to imagine besides being at the EOL there is some software end pushing this as well.  I know other agencies who have deployed HTC window phones and the software is a mess they can't find many vendors willing to deal with the platform and improve it.
  • Leo Lzo; I agree with you and further more why Microsoft not even considered a whole police department of the largest city in the US was being thrown in the backyard trash can. The leadership in Microsoft concerning mobile was those who didn't like it because of it's highly progressive nature yet in defending Windows from all the threats over the years should have turn that anti-progressive behavior into dust particles because without being progressive against the threats Windows would have been long abandon. This is trully a major negative and what is really sad here is that Microsoft did not to use this as an advantage in their marketing of Window Mobile which they are still in the progress of evolutioning. What is worse they cannot stop the NYPD from going to Apple which is a major win for their competitor.
  • Why switch? Just update the OS...
  • it's not about the OS, it's about having phones available for replacements, other than the Elite and Idol4S there are no other win phones currently on market that are supported and still being manufactured
  • They need new devices that have yet to hit the market...
  • ...and updating to what? Running W10M on 830 and 640XL? This is the police force we are talking about, no time for the unreliable W10M that may or may not run an app or hang and crash. W10M ain't no WP8.1.
  • The OS? If I could install WP 8.1 on my 950XL,I'd be there,still the best os and apps out there.None of the awesome Nokia apps made it to WP10.
  • Its one of the most stabile mobile OS around. Most cops should utilize that. It has more features then people realize.
  • It's nowhere near the most stable. Mobile Edge is easily the worst browser legally on the market. Reloads pages all the time, forgets your open tabs, passwords, crashes, freezes and supports even less stuff than IE used to.
  • And what is required for a browser to be "legally" on the market? Which laws are there that keep one browser off the market, but allow others? Are you saying that some companies are colluding with the government to keep competition out of the market? Or are you just blowing air out your a** and making up crap? I could say the same about other browsers. All the other browsers are cutting functionality, I walked in this morning and the Chrome browser I had open was frozen while the Edge browser with 132 tabs I currently have open was running just fine. And not one of those 132 tabs have been "forgotten" in Edge.
  • That sounds like out dated hardware lacking proper memory capacity...
  • W10M is NOT the most stable. At this point people have to stop the obsessive fanboyism.
  • Someone there got themselves an external incentive to waste money on iphones. iPhones are not work phones, windows phones are.
  • It isn't 2006. That hasn't been true for a decade. Microsoft competely abandoned business use with WP7. The vast majority of business devices these days are iPhones.
  • Windows 10 Mobile is almost dead and obsolete.  Microsoft invests more time and effort in developing software for iOS than they ever did with Windows Mobile.  iPhone does everything better than a Windows device.  It always has done! 
  • MS are burning down their own house. I just don't understand the retrenchment unless they never plan to return. In the interim, Stay the course, support the small user base until there is a viable alternative available. The message being sent by MS currently to consumers, devs, partners and corporate is nothing short of disgraceful.
  • As if the NYPD need Snapchat and Pokemon Go. Windows phones were a perfectly legitimate choice for anyone who wanted integration with a Microsoft ecosystem, web browsing, email and custom application support.
  • Maybe for as long as the physical device is healthy and working. And the interoperability with other platforms is pretty much the same now, no real advantage for WP or W10M with other Microsoft software compared to Android or iOS.
  • Cost:  "As part of the department's contract, smartphones were provided at no cost." 
  • That was nice of Microsoft to give them dead phones.
  • Who gives a damn **** that it has been a success?? It is no longer! because of Microshit and it's CEO. She is not to blame for Microsoft's mediocre business plans.
  • Indeed it is a shame Microsoft could not of supported the transition to WM10 this would of at least prolonged what is currently the inevitable. The shame of it is this is exactly the enterprise model the new SurfacePhone was supposed to help so seems unfortunate they could not of kept them onboard long enough to put them into the next evolution.
  • What else do you expect when a woman is in charge of the police department.
  • Your user name reaffirms my belief that your culture's issues are partly caused by your treatment and handling of women.
  • You mean how women have always been treated for the past 4000 years?
  • I am glad she has defended this robustly as the point the other articles seemed to gloss over had been the significant efficiency improvements made and to be honest if using a budget phone meant they now have more money to move to a new more costly but definetly in the current climate more feature and future proof alternatives then that is all for the good. I for one am happy to see the experiment worked and had the desired affects. It sometimes is easy to forget historical savings or learning when looking back through our rose tinted glassses. 
  • Too bad.  Even an unsupported Windows phone is better than an iPhone. If they had to change Android is far superior.
  • I agree with the NYPD Deputy IT Commissioner. To describe the windows phone as useless is ludicrous and the journalist that wrote it doesn't have a clue what he is she is talking about. 
  • Any working smartphone with some appropriate apps would be useful.  The problem - you don't spend a fortune on a system that hardly anyone else uses.  These phones should be replaced when they wear out.  They work, you can set up new ones to look a lot alike and have the same apps to make for an easier transition, but don't throw out the old phones until they are worn out, or there are so few left its a pain to deal with.  Still, the boss who chose these needs to find another profession, maybe on the street with New York's Strongest!  (Sanitation - working on a truck).  That would match the moron's skill level.
  • All I can say is if Microsoft isn't supporting the platform anymore its not a wonder why the NYPD is switching platforms.
  • walk me through on the iPhone to diffuse bomb or help the injuired lives , too noisy let's just get a $5 earphone.  but where is the headphone jack?  Where is the Dongle  (boooommmm.......)  can just imagine