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3/13/2008
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BlackBerry Gets Crime-Fighting App

BIO-key's PocketCop 3.5 sends and receives silent dispatches and turns the smartphone into a thin client.

Along with service revolver, bulletproof vest, and dispatch radio, law enforcement officials can now add BlackBerry devices to their crime-fighting repertoire, thanks to a new mobile application.

BIO-key International released PocketCop 3.5 earlier this week. The software lets mobile law officers identify a wanted person or stolen property directly from a BlackBerry smartphone. BIO-key added integration with computer-aided dispatch systems for sending status updates silently and securely. The feature is scanner-proof, which is critical in surveillance and undercover operations, BIO-key said in a statement.

PocketCop 3.5 also takes advantage of BlackBerry's built-in browser and its "over-the-air" deployment capabilities to turn the smartphone into a thin client on demand. Automatic software updates ensure that any enhancements get installed quickly and easily, according to the vendor. An individual BlackBerry must be running device software versions 4.1 through 4.3 in order to use PocketCop 3.5.

The St. Paul Police Department in Minnesota piloted the new version of PocketCop, according to BIO-key. "It exceeded every expectation we had. CAD integration allows smartphone users much of the same functionality our officers currently enjoy from laptops," said Glen Pettit, lead IT analyst for the department, also in a statement.

The software is available only to law enforcement agencies and sworn officers of the law. For new customers, a starter pack of software for five clients and one server, National Crime Information Center access, and installation costs $5,000. For existing customers, pricing is volume dependent, the vendor said. Client software will run $349 to $649; server software ranges from $194 to $500.

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