Connected Officer: Mobile Devices Roll Out

By Kevin Masterman, Toronto Police Service Published: 5 a.m. February 8, 2018
Updated: 1:54 p.m. February 8, 2018

Service-issued mobile devices are being deployed to all frontline officers in 51 Division in the first phase of the Connected Officer program that will arm each officer with a full application suite and eNotebook by 2019.

A man in uniform holding a mobile device
Constable John-Paul Oddi uses his mobile device at 51 Division

By the end of February, 236 officers will have been trained on their mobile devices that will allow access to criminal investigative databases. The next rollout will be starting in the spring with a further 460 devices deployed.

The deployment of the first recommendation of  The Action Plan: The Way Forward will see the frontline transition reliance from mobile workstations in vehicles to smart devices connecting members at all times to the most current operational information.

The mobilization of these smart devices will: 

  • Transfer the reliance away from a personal device 
  • Give officers increased access to real-time information
  • Allow for problem-solving on the spot – not in the scout car or back at the station
  • The devices will connect members across units

Constable Dave Smith, a Community Response Unit officer who finds himself on bicycle or on foot rather than patrolling in a scout car, said the device allows him to get information without having to call dispatch.

“It’s really working well,” says Smith, who has had the device for a week. “It allows us to get information right there and right then. I can look up A criminal record, if someone is lying about their name we can look up the booking photo.”

He said it empowers officers to see what is going on in the Division no matter where they are and be able to communicate via a secure messenging app, emails or a phone call.

“It’s real-time information to get exactly what we need right away,” Smith says.

Constable John-Paul Oddi says this tool makes officers better able to do their work.

“This gives us access to information outside of our vehicles,” says Oddi, who is one of 35 officers to use the phones over the past eight months as a member of the Connected Officer Working Group. “When I read that we can get information out faster to other officers and to the community I jumped at the chance to be involved with that because I thought it would be a great way at enhancing what we do and make our jobs better and do the job better.”

He says the Connected Officer project team has listened and implemented officers suggestions at their monthly meetings making improvements.

Constable Marc Hayford was able to use his mobile device to benefit the 54 Division Major Crime Unit where officers don’t have computers in their cars and rely on radios to communicate information to dispatch.

“I was able to bring up photos of suspects while doing surveillance, return emails from Crowns while on the road – it’s a great tool,” says Hayford, who has just returned to the road as Primary Response Officer. “Within a week everyone wanted one.”

He says the mobile devices allow officers to be more efficient in their work, get out alerts to other officers quickly such as a missing person photo and stay present where they are needed most.

 “It’s full of the systems we use on a daily basis. You’re out in the community and not running back to your car,” Hayford says. “You’re more approachable out there doing the job on your phone. You’re right there on a scene if something happens.”

The deployment of service-issued mobile devices has three phases of implementation and is expected to be completed by December 2020 when there will be service-issued devices in the hands of all frontline members.

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