How I use my iPhone for police work

How I use my iPhone for police work

David is a technology enthusiast, iPhone user, and Texas-based police officer. This is how he uses iOS at work

Unlike most traditional jobs, I don't have an office where I can spend 8 hours a day sitting at a computer doing work. My office is a Ford Crown Victoria, and it is constantly moving from one location to the next. I need to have access to varying forms of information on the go to effectively get my job done. That's where my iPhone comes into play.

Lifeproof case

Police is a dangerous job and the Lifeproof case has already saved my iPhone more than once.

Being a police officer is a dangerous job; I know that's probably shocking news right? We get into car chases, foot chases, fights, and occasionally worse. My point is, knowing it's a dangerous job, I need to have my iPhone on me at all times. It can literally me a lifeline. So I need to protect it from the dangers of my job. The solution I have found to work for me is a Lifeproof case. Lifeproof cases will protect your iPhone from all the elements; water, dirt, snow, and shock. It's waterproof up to 6.6ft, and can withstand a drop from 6.6ft. These are all important factors for me in my daily use since a majority of my time is spent outside in the elements. The Lifeproof case has already saved my iPhone more than once.

$79.12 - Buy now

Spanish for Police

he Spanish for Police app helps me bridge that gap with words and phrases that I may have forgotten or never learned.

Working in Texas this is a must have. I took four years of Spanish in school, and I'm pretty good without this, but I am nowhere close to being fluent. The Spanish for Police app helps me bridge that gap with words and phrases that I may have forgotten or never learned. It covers subjects from traffic stops, to domestic violence, DUI's, and much more. The great thing with this app is when you find the phrase that fits the situation you are in, just press that phrase and you will hear it read outloud.

$2.99 - Download now

Pill Identifier by

Pill Identifier by helps you figure out if someone is just carrying a bag of tylenol versus a bag of hydrocodone.

The war on drugs isn't just about the typical illicit drugs that everyone thinks about. It also now involves prescription medications being abused. Often times suspects are arrested and found to have a baggie of pills on them. Of course there is no label on that bag, so we have to use the identifying information imprinted on the pills to identify what that pill is. Pill Identifier by allows you to enter the imprint number from the pill, and then it pulls up every pill in its database with that number and tells you what that pill is, and usually has an image of the pill also for further verification that you have the correct pill identified. It's important to know if someone is just carrying a bag of tylenol versus a bag of hydrocodone.

$0.99 - Download now


With the Wiser app we can identify any potentially hazardous materials and take the proper precautions.

Wiser is an easy to use version of the Department of Transportation - Emergency Response Guidebook. The purpose of the app is to identify hazardous substances. For instance, if we respond to a collision and it involves a tanker truck on fire or leaking, we obviously don't want to get too close until we know what substance is in that truck. With a good set of binoculars we can look at the placard on the truck, read the number on the placard, enter it into the Wiser app and figure out what substance the truck is carrying, and what safety precautions need to be used for the first responders, and for the surrounding bystanders.

Free - Download now

White Pages

White Pages lets you find out a scary amount of information, but that's good when you're trying to find the bad guys.

The White Pages app is probably pretty common on most people's iPhones. You can search for people, businesses, or do a reverse phone lookup. All of these things come in handy when looking for someone. It's scary how much public information is available on the web, but it useful when looking for a bad guy.

Free - Download now

iMessage and ActiveSync

First and foremost, I use my iPhone as a communications tool. As a street level supervisor I receive several phone calls throughout the night from troops about how they should handle a particular call, or to brief me on things that require they notify a supervisor. For the times when a phone call can't be made, we rely on sending iMessages or text messages back and forth to relay important information. Lastly, I take advantage of ActiveSync to have my Microsoft Exchange email and calendar information pushed to my iPhone. This keeps me up to date on the go of all important department-wide crime bulletins that are sent, as well as keeps my appointment schedule at my fingertips.


The Safari web browser is useful to look up important information on the go, such as Texas Laws

If I have a question about the penal code, code of criminal procedure, or even the transportation code, an answer is just a quick search away via the Safari web browser. There are plenty of apps available, but I guess I'm too cheap to buy them. I think the browser on the iPhone and the information provided on the State of Texas website fulfills my needs.


I know that there are many more apps out there that could be of use, but these are the primary ones I use on a day to day basis. If you work in emergency services and know of some great apps that may help others in the field, sound off in the comments with what you have so we can all get a look and benefit from what iOS has to offer.

*You can read more of David's posts at

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Reader comments

How I use my iPhone for police work


Good write up Dave. I am a cop over in Arizona. I like the app references. Going to share this with some of the guys.

As a firefighter/Hazmat Tech/Engineer/Rescue Tech/etc.,etc. the iPhone has become an invaluable tool for me as well. I currently use an Otterbox Defender case but soon will probably be getting the Aqua Tek S case for it's water resistant qualities. All the different apps by publishers for hazardous materials, extrication, technical rescue, hydraulics, man. Makes life pretty easy.

As a freedom loving American, anything that helps keep the bad guys off the streets is A OK in my book. Thanks for sharing Officer!

You have to admit, it's kind of funny that THE VERY NEXT POST after "How I use my iPhone for police work" on iMore is "In defense of Cydia, the jailbreak app store." Ah, comedy. That being said... this is an excellent post. To the officer who wrote it, I salute you, sir. Cheers!

That's called breaking an intersection, and it is used a lot in different areas of the country. Just because you don't know the reason doesn't negate the fact there is one. People drive like idiots when they see emergency lights approaching, so using them only at intersections can cut down on the risk while responding to calls.
It takes a post like this one to draw out the morons who don't have the common sense to know what would happen if there were no police. If it were me I would disable comments on this particular post because it is just going to get worse.

To whoever is moderating, thank you. Also, feel free to delete my posts as they are direct replies to those who have been censored. :)

Nice post written by the Officer, Thanks. I enjoy seeing posts from people who use their devices in different ways because they are engaged in various professions. Keep up the good work.

I tried the Lifeproof case and immediately took it back and stayed with the Otterbox Defender. My question: how do you put up with the Lifeproof's screen--that little gap that makes typing a nightmare?!

I also use my iPhone for work as a police officer in Texas, but as for the apps listed here, there are free apps that do the same thing. There is a free app for Spanish translation Police Spanish Guide This app will even speak the phrases for you. As for the pill look up Epocrates is a very good free app. Just wanted to put out some other choices. Stay Safe!

Pretty cool write up. It's cool to see that there literally is an app for just about everything you might want to do.

I'm police officer in Georgia and found this article very helpful. I would like to add an app that I think every officer should have on their smart phone if available. It's called US COP. It's $3.99 but I think it's worth every penny. It has everything that an officer may need to reference in the field. Even case law. Check into it, It's come in handy already.

Susie is right on the money with the Kong. Our vet gave us one on our dogs first visit, and we have been using it when we go out ever since. We stuff it with peanut butter, small Milk Bones (you really have to pack them in so it's a challenge to get out)or cheese. Our dog loves it. Before we go out we prepare it on the kitchen counter and our dog is in her crate waiting eagerly for her treat before we can finish. No stress in our doggy when we go out.

Have you considered aside from publishing a list of online scores on the web, also making a version of the game that is playable as a separate pc game or as a browser game? with its endless and always varying boards it's the perfect game for that. And different from most other pipeline-style games in that it has the need to connect all ends of the puzzle together. I think it has potential for more than just iphone based.

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