Pocket cops are the berries in Baltimore

WATERLOO/BALTIMORE — BlackBerries are known as pocket cops in Baltimore, which has just allocated US$3.5 million to buy 2,000 of the Research in Motion PDAs. Patrol officers now join Wall Street manipulators and the White House among addicts of the Waterloo fruit toot.
And if Baltimore city officials have anything to say about it, this isn't the end, or even the beginning of the end, RIM-logo111X74.jpgbecause they believe that "Baltimore's police department will become one of the first agencies in the nation to issue every patrol officer a BlackBerry ..." There are a lot iof agencies in that nation. RIM could be overwhelmed.
In the meantime, AP reports that Baltimore has opted for the BlackBerry because "the devices allow officers to run warrants, check vehicle registrations, and pull up criminal histories and suspect photos. Officers who use them can be more efficient and spend more time outside of their cars," according to Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III .
"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."
The department has been using more than 100 BlackBerries in a pilot program. Officers using pocket cops made twice as many arrests over a 3-month period than those equipped with radios or laptops. They also hauled in more offenders on outstanding warrants.Two thousand more units should be enough to equip every regular patrol officer with one.
The devices could also save the city money. It costs about $1,700 to purchase a BlackBerry with a year's service plan, compared with $7,800 to install a laptop computer and software in a police car, city officials say.

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