The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

LAPD's New Smartphone App: Will Your Criminal Record Show Up?

The Los Angeles Police Department will soon have access to a new smartphone app called "JusticeMobile," reports ABC News.  Developed by Attorney General Kamala Harris, the San Francisco Police Department, and various technology companies, the app is funded by federal, state, and local governments.

According to Harris, about 600 San Francisco police officers have already used the app. In addition, more than 3,600 Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers will soon begin using an updated version of the app.

What is JusticeMobile, exactly? Here's a general overview:

JusticeMobile's Purpose and Records Available

The app will allow officers to look up any suspect's criminal record while they are out on patrol. Traditionally, police officers would need to call or radio in to their stations to check a suspect's criminal history, but with the app, instant results will be available on their phones. With this new technology, an officer will know right away if the suspect is a parolee or a wanted felon. These shortcuts will undoubtedly increase police efficiency -- especially for time sensitive, intense situations in the field.

Other states have their own versions of the JusiceMobile app, but California is the only state in the country where officers will have access to statewide (as opposed to only department-wide) criminal records.

Aside from one's criminal records, what other records are available through JusticeMobile? According to a press release from Attorney General Harris, JusticeMobile also provides access to the Bureau of Firearms Armed Prohibited Persons (APPS) database, and the app is being used on a pilot basis at weekend firearms shows in California.

Rigorous Security Standards

Because of the sensitive information to which JusticeMobile provides access, the app has also employed very strict security standards. JusticeMobile includes features like:

  • strong password requirements
  • a Virtual Private Network that requires multiple stages of verifications
  • encryption
  • a limit on downloads and syncing
  • prohibiting copying or screen captures

The app will also wipe out any stored data in the even an officer's phone is stolen or lost.

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