Technology Facilitates Communication Between Public and Department
As the number of smartphone users continues to increase, law enforcement has harnessed the ability to use technology to provide better two-way communication with the public. Locally, Marshfield Police Department’s smartphone app “My Police Department (MyPD)” is a convenient way for the public to monitor local safety concerns and communicate with the department. (In an emergency, always dial 9-1-1!)
“It’s a one-stop-shop directory for the department,” said Chief Rick Gramza.
While researching ways to be more accessible, Gramza learned about a company that developed a general app that can be customized by local police departments.
“There is an annual fee to maintain it, but we had looked at having an app created just for our agency and that would have run at excess of $30,000,” said Gramza. “This was much more reasonable at $600/year for maintenance.”
The app is integrated with the department’s pre-existing Command Central software, which allows it to then map areas of crime in the City.
Currently used by United States and Canadian local, state, and college police, and other law enforcement agencies to enhance community services, the app provides a number of useful features, including the ability to easily send messages to local agencies either anonymously or with contact information provided. The main benefit to the app is accessibility.
“We’re connecting with a population that is very cell-phone and technology-focused,” said Gramza. “Although most of the information that’s available through the app is available elsewhere, it’s added convenience. You can do anything from e-mailing concerns to commending an officer to looking at crime maps to looking at warrants. There’s a weather app on there, a direct link to our facebook page, and the ability to submit an anonymous tip.”
Also included within the app are easy ways to ask questions, learn more about the Citizen’s Academy, address parking questions, and upload photos.
For example, one citizen used the app to report a branch that was obstructing traffic. Within minutes, the Police Department was addressing the issue.
To download the MyPD app, visit the app store on a smartphone, or download directly from the Marshfield Police Department Facebook page or City of Marshfield website.
By using the app, citizens accept that the information provided is not urgent in nature, and true. Making a false report to law enforcement is a serious criminal offense. In the case of an emergency, always dial 9-1-1.