If every NYPD officer had an iPad, the city’s criminal justice system would be a lot more efficient. That’s the view of Steve Cohen, a New York Law School student who recently worked at a district attorney’s office. After making an arrest, police officers fill out paperwork by hand, then it’s entered into multiple computer systems by clerks. Forms are faxed to a prosecutor’s office and other clerks enter the same information into different computer systems that don’t communicate with each other. Errors and delays are rampant. Files are often misplaced. While FedEx can locate a package anywhere in the world, Cohen write in The New York Times that the criminal justice system has “file folders overflowing with paper.”
Police collect statements at the crime scene, but don’t get signatures. According to Cohen, more than 58,000 cases were dismissed or not pursued by DAs last year because they couldn’t find victims and witnesses. Cohen said using an iPad’s speech-to-text feature, an officer could record a statement and send it digitally with an electronic signature. But few police cars have Internet connections—and the NYPD says that a standard Internet connection isn’t secure enough.