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

As the NYPD prepares to switch from Windows Phones to iPhones, the department's Deputy IT Commissioner is defending the choice to equip officers with Windows Phones in the first place.

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?