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Smart phone app to link community, GPD

GUSTINE - A confidential link with local law enforcement will soon be at the fingertips of community members who make use of a smart phone application being purchased by the Gustine Police Department.

City Council members approved the purchase of the application at their Sept. 15 meeting. When in service, the program can be downloaded at no charge by those with smart phones - who in turn can use the app to message police with information and photographs.

The application will create an opportunity for confidential dialogue with police, Chief Doug Dunford explained, and give the community an avenue to conveniently and confidentially share information with authorities.

The application, developed by LogicTree, Inc., can also be used to deliver emergency notifications and alerts.

Dunford said he expects the application to be available within four to six weeks.

The city will conduct a one-year trial of the application to determine its effectiveness and gauge participation, Dunford added.

The application is not for emergency calls, he stressed, but does allow users the opportunity to send information to police as incidents are occurring.

Messages delivered via the application will be monitored by the department's command staff, who in turn will distribute information to officers - and, in some cases, to other city departments when the messages received are not related to law enforcement.

Dunford said the application is another facet of the city's quest to use technology and social media to its greatest potential.

"We are trying different things. We have Facebook and we have Twitter. Facebook is our most active, but this is just another outreach program that we are trying," Dunford stated.

The application may be particularly effective in reaching out to younger community members, he added, noting that children as young as elementary school age are carrying smart phones.

Alerts and notifications sent via the application will automatically go to the department's Facebook and Twitter accounts as well, the chief noted.

The annual cost for the application is $1,699. A one-time set-up fee of $750 also applies. The first-year costs of the application are being funded through the city's traffic fines account, according to a staff report.

City Manager Sean Scully said he believes the application will prove beneficial to the police department and community alike.

"We keep trying to find more ways to communicate with the public that were not previously available," he explained. "This is not going to be used by everyone, and that's okay. We expect that within five years this kind of thing is going to be pretty normal for every department to have. It creates a direct dialogue between the command staff at the police department and anybody who wants to report (incidents). It totally changes how reporting could occur for people with smart phones."

Marysville Police Department releases new app for community members

The Marysville Police Department is using a new app to interact with the community.

The user friendly design makes it so that residents can comment, leave crime tips, even send images through the app. When sending a tip you have the option of remaining anonymous and disabling your GPS.

The new app also allows the department to send emergency alerts, post news about missing persons, traffic delays, weekly crime reports, even surveys regarding police activity.

In the event of an emergency, app users will get a push notification to their phone.

The app is free and is available for smart phones that use Apple Android or Windows platforms. To find the app search "Marysville PD" in the app store.

The app is not meant to replace calling 9-1-1 in emergency situations.

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