App should be used only for non-emergency tips
BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - The Broward Sheriff's Office is encouraging every resident in the county to download a new app aimed at keeping the public safe.
The app, launched by BSO and the company SaferWatch, already has 1,000 users as of Tuesday.
Sheriff Scott Israel said the app is a seamless way for people to reach law enforcement officials in non-emergency situations.
"See something, say something. The community are our eyes and ears," he said.
The app is a proactive, mobile approach to community policing.
"We've already attained information and provided services that, in any other circumstance, we might not have been able to accomplish," Maj. Jonathan Appel said.
Through the SaferWatch app, users are able to send non-emergency tips to law enforcement with several categories ranging from bullying to motor vehicle theft.
"It's about calls like bullying -- information on what someone posting," Israel said.
With the school year underway, the app is specifically targeting students, parents and teachers, who will be able to subscribe on the app to a school’s location and receive emergency and non-emergency alerts in real time.
"So if we had a bomb concern at a particular school, we would primarily send out an alert about the threat but also send additional info to stay out of a particular area," Appel said.
The app is free and available on iOS and Android devices.
Tipsters are also able to submit information, pictures and videos anonymously or as themselves.
But pranksters should be aware that tips can be tracked to your location.
"Just like there are penalties for people who make false 911 reports, if someone utilized this medium to create a false report, we would handle it the same way," Appel said.
The app does not replace 911, so emergency calls should still be handled the old-fashioned way.
If a tip is received outside of BSO's jurisdiction, it will be routed to the appropriate agency.
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