EPD releases smartphone app to improve spread of important information

With technology on the rise, criminals are learning new ways to commit crimes. The police, however, are doing the same, enlisting their communities to band together in new ways to ensure the safety of communities across the country.

The Elizabethton Police Department recently released their own smartphone app to help spread important information about crime, traffic and other potentially life-threatening information to the people who need it most.

Criminal Investigation Command (CID) Commander Shane Darling said the application, called Elizabethton PD on the App Store, is meant to be a more convenient way for citizens to both send and receive information from the police department.

“The app is real-time,” Darling said. “Meaning, we send something out and you can receive it almost instantly.”

The application is part of the 411Tip umbrella software, meaning users can choose to submit their tips anonymously. If a user chooses to do this, the application does not collect personal info and EPD cannot ask for it. In fact, the alert creates a random string of characters in place of a name, so there is no chance of someone taking a screenshot of anything.

“Users can choose to correspond, however,” he said. “That way, we can have a conversation about what is happening.”

The application has been in development for a little over a year according to Darling. Over 1,500 communities across the country utilize similar services according to a press release from EPD.

Darling said he receives three notifications from every tip he receives: one from his phone via text, one from his e-mail and one from the app itself.

“We have some administrators who oversee the system,” he said. “Chief Shaw, Captain Perkins and the Records Division all have access to it.”

This way, he said, even if one of them is unable to respond to the alert, someone else can respond and send the message along to the appropriate officer.

“If it is a report on suspected drug use, we can send a drug officer over,” he said.

He showed off some of the features of the app, including security footage that goes along with a crime alert if there is some.

“The public is our greatest crime-fighting resource,” the press release said. “We hope residents will use tip411 to share important information about suspicious activities, drugs, domestic violence and other crimes to help make a safer place[…].”

The application is currently available on Apple and Android devices on their respective app stores.

Those without the app can still anonymously submit tips by texting 847411.

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