Thursday, June 24, 2010

Police iPad

Until recently, I had never owned an Apple product.  I’m probably the only person left who does not own an iPod.  On April 30, though, the FedEx truck brought me a package containing my pre-ordered iPad 3G on the very day of its public release.  I’ve been using it since, and although it is personally-owned, it has proven to be a workhorse, too.

I didn’t expect it to be so.  All I wanted was to read books, magazines, and newspapers without carrying around the weight and bulk.  I had been contemplating buying an eReader when I read about the upcoming iPad, and decided it might be both a DVD player and an eReader, killing two birds with one stone.  Little did I know…. 

Since most all of LPD’s records management system is web-enabled, the iPad proved to be a dandy device for checking current calls, reading reports, or for that matter creating reports. It’s handy for my calendar and email, and mug shots absolutely look horrible, which is absolutely great.  I can’t get over the display quality, and how marvelous it looks with Google Earth, Google Maps, and StreetView

Sunday and Monday night during our weekend storms, I was glued to weather radar with WeatherBug, listening to radio traffic from the police, fire, and storm spotters using 5-0 Scanner HD, and checking our storm related police dispatches in the LPD records system., which we use for remote participation in lineup, has a great iPad app, and all my important files and spreadsheets are available through Google Docs. 

I find myself booting my computer much less often at home and on the road, as the iPad fulfills many of my most common needs.  The battery really does last ten hours, and unlike my laptop, it’s instant on and instant off.  The several minutes required to boot up or shut down my laptop now seems like an eternity, and annoys me even more!  There are a few things I can’t do with the iPad: sites I use that demand Flash or Silverlight, things that require the specialized software loaded on my laptop, and some web pages that just don’t render quite right in Safari mobile. It’s not exactly the weapon of choice for substantial key stroking, but for the much of my work it’s fast, light, thin, powerful, and perfectly adequate. 

As advertised, the iPad fits right in between my smartphone and my laptop.  On a recent flight, I had a row-mate who was watching movie on an iPad while I read Road & Track.  He was a twenty-something audio engineer, on his way to set up the sound system at a rock concert. He had the same story as me: and Apple-avoider who couldn’t believe he bought it in the first place, but loves it now.  I think we’ll be seeing a lot of this form factor in the future of police mobile computing, and I’m betting there are more police officers out there finding on-the-job uses for iPads right now.



Anonymous said...

I wish those used the OSX operating system, like Macs, instead of the crummy iPhone OS. Security-wise, there's a vast gulf between the two OSs. I'll buy one when they make the switch.

Anonymous said...

So did you write this blog entry on your iPad?

Tom Casady said...



Anonymous said...

Who pays the airtime?

Anonymous said...

Will this technology eventually replace the bulky laptop computers in cop cars?

Matt said...

Now, all you need is the new iphone 4 to match, chief! Maybe you could convince the department to get you a Macbook? :D

Tom Casady said...


I have wi-fi at work and home, and public access points are all around, so I don't need 3G airtime very much. I'm signed up for the AT&T fixed plan, as a bakup, at my own expense.


That looks likely to me. This form-factor would soar in police mobile data, with some sort of pull-and-go dock. Not there yet, but I think I'm looking at the future of mobile data.

Anonymous said...

An Iowa State Patrol Trooper stopped me to say hello the other day. The warning ticket was on an iPad-like device that I signed with a stylus and he printed me a copy. Writing a ticket without a pen seemed kind of un-American.


Anonymous said...

I can't wait for the day we don't have to transport people to jail. We can just "beam" them there.
Put em in the back of the cruiser and hit a button.

Anonymous said...

Writing a ticket without a pen seemed kind of un-American.
writing a ticket with a bamboo stock dipped in monkey blood is unamerican. Going green may result to this.

Matt said...

It looks like some people have already begun putting the iPad in their vehicles.
Doesn't it seem to be similar to the
carbon motors in-dash unit?

Steve said...

One of these days, they'll invent the iCrap, so we don't have to waste time in the bathroom!

Anonymous said...

No DVD's at work Chief! Haha

ARRRRG!!!! said...

I have the iPod Touch. I think an upgrade to the iPad is in the future.

Anonymous said...


It's a joke, referring to the fact that in my era of policework, we used the recently invented BIC pens. And, the best computer available was an Atari 2600 which did not have apps on it other than Pong and Asteroids so it was not a valuable tool for law enforcement.

I am all about going green by the way so I think your bamboo stick/blood idea may deserve a second look. Getting the monkey to hold still after the first few tickets might be a challenge however.


Tom Casady said...


I actually have some time off like everyone else. This is my personal iPad, and I'll use it as I wish when I'm off duty.


It's the iPod, the iPhone, and the iPad. It would have to be named something else, don't you think, to keep with that alliteration theme?


The BIC still gets my vote as best gadget of the 20th Century. Why is a 9 cent pen better than a $90 Montblanc? Go figure. Maybe they should make BIC refills for Montblancs.

Randy 552 said...

I was in an Apple store, this past Sunday, and held one in my hands for the first time. I must agree it was awesome. I have learned not to impulse buy so I set it back down with much regret.

Eric said...

It's always a good day to see when the Chief trends towards the Luke Skywalker of the technology world instead of the Darth Vader of the Micro$oft world!

Steve said...


I can think of some that would stick with the alliteration theme, but you might not print them! :)

Anonymous said...


A potential bond issue, a few years down the road:

"A $6 million police assembly station"

Would that be an East police station, or an expansion of the main station?

Tom Casady said...


HQ is fine, but we have needed a south/southeast substation for a long time. The 1930's police garage is desparately in need of replacement. Both of these projects have been in the City's Capital Improvement Plan for years, but without any funding source. Lincoln has had virtually no money at all the devote to capital projects for several years. Probably the only way these projects will happen in the next decade is with a bond issue.

Anonymous said...

Rest assured, I like the idea of using that vacant patch at 70th & A for a SE station. The only bond issue I've ever voted for in over 20 years of local elections was your last radio system upgrade. I like funding public safety upgrades this way, and would vote for all the public safety upgrades on that list, because I don't mind my prop taxes going there, nor do I think that most property owners would disagree, though some will.

I wouldn't vote for the non-public-safety bonds, though. Let them liquidate some LHA properties to pay for that stuff; keep the housing for low-income elderly, the developmentally disabled, and the severely handicapped. Sell everything else.

Ryan said...

Well maybe if we don't build this arena we would be able to build those substations and garage, but what do I know, I like higher taxes that goes to government entertainment projects.

Tom Casady said...


I have listed over that NE corner for years. There's also a nice patch down the road between the 5th tee at Holmes GC and the cemetery--right across 70th from Walgreens...


Well, the theory is that the Arena and it's related private development will eventually create more economic activity, and hence more tax revenue. We shall see. Personally, I agree with that view, but I also realize that I'm not likely to reap many of these benefits in my current role, because the true impact is down the road too far. I am, however, hoping for a good brick oven pizza, a Whole Foods, and a couple watering holes with some live jazz. Give me those, and I'll be contributing some more sales tax!

Anonymous said...

Steve and Chief-

Would the iPoo use iPaper and would it come in a replaceable iPacket or would you need to carry a roll on your belt in the iPouch?
It's sort of iPerplexing to me so I'll have to iPonder these serious issues. Thank goodness it's nearly the weekend so I have time to think.


Anonymous said...


Is this one of those peaceful, non-violent drug users that the pro-dopers keep telling us about? Oh, look, he's already an ex-con - I wonder what that case was all about.

p.s. Watch the prosecutor cut a deal and drop this to a misdemeanor, just like usual.

Anonymous said...


So, would a new SE station have a intake/booking/detention wing, for temp storage of those destined for county? It's an awful long way from (for example) 87th & Hwy 2 to the new County Jail. Maybe your guests could go from a new SE station to county by the van-load once or twice a day, instead of one at a time in the back of a cruiser.

Anonymous said...

If you like google voice, I think you will be able to use it somewhat on your iPad by going to
if you click on "add to homescreen" within safari, it will create an icon for it for quick opening.
- intern

Anonymous said...


Even though you're grandfathered into the unlimited plan, I'd be curious how much data you use in a month, roughly speaking.

Ignacio said...

Your is the first article on an iPad for Police work I found on the Internet. And I have been looking!!

I'm seriously considering in studying the capability of this new device to support or help serious Police work.

I dont have to tell you the advantages, since you have one and have discovered them by yourself. In a few month I'm sure you will find many more applications, please share them with me.

Ignaci Rivera

Hard said...

You should take a look at Hard Case for iPad. It is a cruiser-mate style clipboard box with ipad compartment built-in. iPad police apps are coming fast and this is the best case solution for squad car and on-site mobile computing.

Dave Lundgren said...

(MODERATOR: SELF SERVING PLUG, don't know if permissable, my apologies and pull it gleefully if not)

We're working really hard on this... getting ready to roll out the first few actual police agencies to the new iPad stuff.

Wish we had this when I was still on the jon (retired 2003)

tim said...

Cheif Cassidy, I am a firefighter in Louisville Kentucky who also works for a ruggedized case/cover/accessory system for public safety organizations. I used your article in an arguement to (hopefully) develop a grant system to purchase ipads for our local departments and districts for police/fire/ems. Anyway, I use our product for my ipad on shift, great to mount/protect/carry in the truck. And if you ever need to get ahold of me,

Brendan said...

Also, take a look at the Muvn Case for iPad. It's one tough case! Shock-resistant, with 1/2" of EVA foam all around to protect corners, back, and the bezel. An industrial-strength attachable hand strap available too. See it at or on amazon.