Atlantic Beach considering app to connect families, law enforcement

Families could soon be able to send police critical information without calling or texting 911. Atlantic Beach is among a growing number of cities turning to technology to help keep families safe. Kayla Gaul says she and her daughter, Ellie, are always on the move.

We’re always out and about -- bike rides, beach, park days,” Gaul said. That’s why she says she was excited to learn about the app that can alert her to crimes in her neighborhood. SaferWatch allows families to report crimes, threats and suspicious activity to police. You can upload video and photos and even initiate a panic button that includes your GPS location.

Law enforcement can also use it to send out mass notifications -- including during active shooter situations. “We’re always glued to our phones, to be honest, so knowing that if there’s a predator or a robbery going on in the neighborhood, I think it’s great,” Gaul said. A SaferWatch spokesperson tells Action News Jax they are in talks with Duval County Public Schools and other law enforcement agencies in Northeast Florida.

St Johns County is also using technology to connect with families. Right now, 17,000 users are registered on the Neighbors by Ring app. Cara Missimi said the apps are a great tool to help keep her and her daughter safe.

“It’s a good extra thing to have for safety reasons,” she said. “Any way to get the alert out there, I think it’s great.”

Atlantic Beach’s city manager tells Action News Jax their lawyer is still reviewing the contract. It’s expected to go to the city commission for approval at a May 13 meeting.