Donating Cell Phones – How It Can Help Your Local Community

February 21, 2019

We live in a world heavily reliant on technology. Smartphones are extremely beneficial and at this point vital. But is the primary benefit of our cell phones personal enjoyment and convenience? There are several schools and agencies that are benefiting from these devices in a different way.

 

Take for example, app developing courses and computer science classes.

 

The 911 Cell Phone Bank donated phones to a New Jersey High School so that they could participate in the Verizon App Challenge.  Rather than the students using their own personal devices for the testing of their apps, which could potentially cause unwanted issues to their phones, they were able to use the 25 refurbished Samsung devices we provided. Each student having the same phone avoided the issue of any different programming requirements that might be caused by variances in the operating systems of different makes and models of android devices. And due to each student having their own phone to work on, they were able to accomplish more than if sharing devices was necessary. These students are currently researching possible mobile application ideas which may benefit the community.

 

What about our victims’ service agencies?

 

Since 2004 our network of over 1,500 law enforcement and victim services agencies has enabled us to distribute over 125,000 emergency cell phones to vulnerable citizens in communities nationwide. All devices are provided at no cost to our partner agencies. We have provided video games, iPad's and iPod's to shelters for children of abuse victims to play with while mom gets help. A high-risk victim of domestic abuse, whose abuser was recently released from prison, was provided with an emergency phone and it saved her life.  Read the article: https://www.data-secure.org/single-post/2017/06/03/You-Helped-Save-a-Life-in-Las-Vegas to see the effect these emergency phones have on real victims. Some people are skeptical or concerned that the phones we provide only dial 911.  We think stories like this show that these phones have the ability to save lives. This instance shows the true value of our program.

 

The local police department can benefit from our program as well.

 

It’s common for evidence to be tampered with. We’ve all seen a movie or T.V. show that depicts a criminal on the verge of being caught, who in a desperate last attempt swallows some drugs or maybe even a flash drive. Or maybe they tried to toss it in hopes it landed somewhere no one would find it. Whatever the case, guilty people try to cover up their tracks. In this criminal investigation, the destroyed evidence was a cell phone. One of our longtime law enforcement partners, the Winter Garden Police Department, asked us for some help. In this homicide case, the victims’ phone was shattered and broken into pieces. Ken Lininger of the WGPD asked us if we could provide a duplicate phone to recover the information it contained. Thankfully it worked, and Lininger had this to say “…we were able to obtain the information and provide it to the State Attorney for trial. In March 2016, the case went to trial. The jury came back within 64 minutes with a guilty verdict with life in prison. Thanks to 911 Cell Phone Bank we were able to obtain the information and provide a timeline for our suspect and victim and secure a conviction." Obviously, this is a very serious and maybe not so common request from police departments, but we are more than happy to accommodate our law enforcement officials in any way we can to better the local community.

 

Needless to say, a cell phone can have a much larger role than fulfilling our communication and entertainment needs. Are you or someone you know in need of an emergency phone? Are you a teacher in need of a few devices? Does your agency have a special need? Contact us to see if we can help. Are you looking to donate? This article may have enlightened you to how your donated device can be used. We all have an active part to play in bettering the community. Can you help?

 

To get involved, call us at 866-290-7864 or send an email to: requests@911cellphonebank.org.

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