Santa Cruz police launch new mobile phone app [Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif.]
(Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) April 19--SANTA CRUZ -- Santa Cruz police have launched a new application for Android-based mobile phones that gives users more access to law enforcement information.
The free app follows an iPhone version launched in March 2011. Both apps include the Santa Cruz police radio, alerts and maps of police activity, photos and videos.
New features in the app include a refined police scanner with less static and integration with the police's Facebook and Twitter feeds. Users also can provide crime tips to police.
An upgrade to the iPhone version is expected in late April or early May.
Police Chief Kevin Vogel said the idea is to make law enforcement information more transparent for residents.
"This is another step toward that goal," Vogel said. He added that the new app "will provide an unprecedented amount of information to our residents."
The app is available to download on Google Play by searching for Santa Cruz police. Google Play is at http://play.google.com.
The iPhone and Android apps were developed by mobilePD, whose parent company is Sunnyvale-based EZ Axess Inc.
UC Santa Cruz graduates Jamieson Johnson and Kushyar Kasraie founded both firms. Johnson said Thursday that more than 10,000 people have downloaded Santa Cruz police's iPhone app.
"We think it's the next form of what police are going to do to engage the community,"
Johnson said of mobile apps. The company is courting other police agencies to develop similar applications.
Santa Cruz police were the first in the nation to provide a mobile application with police information. In 2011, the League of California Cities gave Santa Cruz police the Helen Putnam Award of Excellence for introducing the iPhone app.
Since then, Deputy Police Chief Rick Martinez and other Santa Cruz police leaders have visited other cities to explain how the app works.
Some law enforcement agencies have balked at providing the police scanner on mobile phones. They feared it could aid criminals.
Martinez pointed out that the scanner is already publicly accessible on radios. Also, police have the option to transfer important radio traffic to a secondary channel or make it private.
"Generally it's pretty inane to have (mobile phone access) on your primary channel," Martinez said.
Follow Sentinel reporter Stephen Baxter on Twitter @sbaxter_sc.
(c)2012 the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.)
Visit the Santa Cruz Sentinel (Scotts Valley, Calif.) at www.santacruzsentinel.com
Distributed by MCT Information Services
[ Back To TMCnet.com's Homepage ]