The Advantages of the StackBench Sheriff App: Enhancing Departments and Empowering Citizens

Ken Schul

(Retired Captain, CMPD), Director, StackBench

Connecting and communicating with the public is imperative to community policing. One of the most effective ways to reduce crime and increase trust between law enforcement and the citizens they serve is by opening the doors of communication. When an individual feels they can approach their local sheriff’s deputies, they are much more likely to offer support to law enforcement. The public is much more likely to report any suspicious activity they see or offer helpful information to deputies when they trust them.

The implementation of an app can enhance the structure of community policing and can benefit both the law enforcement agency and its citizens. For example, if a county uses a sheriff app to connect with their citizens they can stay in direct contact with their community, easily and effectively. The more a law enforcement department reaches out to the public, the more transparency there is, which builds trust between sheriff’s deputies and civilians.

Sheriff Department Apps

The responsibilities of a sheriff’s department are to provide public safety for their respective county just as municipal police do for cities. However, most sheriff’s deputies' jurisdictions are vast and include much more ground to cover and protect than municipal law enforcement. Due to the expansive areas they serve, deputies cannot always connect with their communities in the way they would like to. By implementing an application into a department, deputies can easily and effectively communicate with the citizens they serve. A sheriff's app specifically designed for deputies and their duties allows sheriff’s departments to let the public know about a situation that may be occurring so they can avoid the area, or even ask citizens if they have any additional information regarding a particular incident. Since the majority of the population has access to a smartphone, this type of technology is extremely effective.

For the public, such an application can be the go-to platform for any and all information regarding happenings in their county. For instance, if there is a road closure, road conditions, an active shooter incident, or any other type of incident that may be occurring, sheriffs can let the public know. Likewise, citizens can easily submit helpful information that may assist law enforcement in investigations, active situations, or crimes in progress. With the Unified Communication Platform (UCP) from StackBench, the public can quickly report information, even uploading photos and videos in real time directly to law enforcement. In addition, individuals who wish to remain anonymous can still report any imperative information to sheriff's deputies. Having the ability to immediately connect with law enforcement can provide peace of mind to the public and can empower them with confidence and trust in their deputies.

Enhancing Departments

Law enforcement departments can benefit by using an application in a myriad of ways, including improving the way personnel connect and communicate with each other. For instance, with the sheriff’s office mobile application from StackBench, department administration can send quick, encrypted memos to their deputies. This is important for maintaining officer safety and situational awareness. The sooner a deputy knows about a situation, the better. Faster notification means a quicker response time. It is equally important if a situation is one that happened prior to the deputy's shift and they need to know about it for safety reasons. Informing them sooner is always better than later or not at all. Additionally, the UCP application for sheriff’s departments has the ability to show the sender of the message who has read their memo, and when. This is extremely helpful for interoffice communications.

The fact that each message is encrypted provides peace of mind and security to law enforcement personnel. The UCP Sheriff app by StackBench has infrastructure that is NIST, FedRamp, and SOC2 compliant. This means that every message sent is 100 percent encrypted and protected.

This is an excellent resource for any type of department, but especially sheriff’s offices. This is because often deputies have to be out on the road for most of their shifts. When there is less time spent at the office, there is a chance deputies may miss important memos, emails, or other imperative information. By having the information sent directly to their Smartphone from a sheriff’s app, deputies can receive the message no matter where they may be in the county.

Empowering Citizens

Knowledge is power, meaning the more information known about a situation the better the outcome will most likely be. Having more data regarding a situation can enhance situational awareness and can increase public safety. When departments use a sheriff’s app, they can provide the public they serve with instantaneous alerts to keep them in the know and aware.

Specifically, with a sheriff’s office mobile application, departments and citizens alike can keep up to date on inmate information. This promotes situational awareness to the public. This feature of the app provides citizens with information regarding a particular inmate and their incarceration status. Having that type of information can enhance public safety and situational awareness for both citizens and law enforcement.

The public can also receive immediate alerts from social media platforms regarding happenings in their county. This particular feature is part of the UCP sheriff app from StackBench. With ease, a sheriff’s department can make an announcement and send it once, but to several platforms at a time. When citizens are aware of incidents occurring, they can avoid certain areas where a situation may be taking place.

Additionally, if an individual witnesses an incident, they can let their local sheriff’s office know what they saw and provide details. That not only keeps the public safe, it keeps officers safe as well. The more information a deputy has when going on a call, the better they can assess and react to situations. When deputies remain safe, it enhances public safety as a whole.

A sheriff’s department app such as the UCP Sheriff app from StackBench has GPS capability to pinpoint a location. For instance, if the public witnesses an incident, they can let their sheriff’s office know by using the app. The app automatically lets law enforcement know where the individual reporting the incident is located with GPS coordinates, if the individual allows it. This saves much time and allows deputies to respond much more quickly.

With a tool such as a sheriff’s department app, the public can report incidents they see in real time in order to help their local law enforcement and remain vigilant. That alone can bring peace of mind as well as confidence and trust in local law enforcement. The UCP Sheriff app from StackBench is available for both iPhone and Android, so anyone with a smartphone can have access to the app, which is free to the public.

Transparency Equals Trust

When sheriff’s departments implement a sheriff’s department app, it builds a direct line of communication between the public and their local deputies. As previously mentioned, sheriff’s departments cover a vast area in their jurisdiction. In fact, the average sheriff's department covers enough territory that some counties are the size of a small state. Due to the number of responsibilities deputies have between policing and assisting with jails, there is not much room for community engagement. However, by implementing an application for a sheriff’s department, the sheriff and deputies may connect with the public directly. This also allows the citizens they protect to get to know their sheriff and local law enforcement.

When transparency is built, it bridges any gaps in communication and trust between deputies and citizens. When the public is able to get to know their local law enforcement, that builds trust. When a community trusts its sheriff, they are much more likely to provide helpful tips that may result in faster apprehension or even faster response time. Improved response time means increased safety. It is imperative for policing to remain as communicative and transparent as possible with the public. This can be challenging. On the other hand, it is equally important for law enforcement to keep their deputies safe. A sheriff’s department mobile application offers a solution to both challenges.

A Sheriff App Connects and Protects All Who Use It

A sheriff’s department mobile application connects all those who use it. Everyone can benefit from using a law enforcement app. It is an excellent way to keep deputies safe, as well as keep the public in the know about incidents occurring in their counties. A law enforcement app is also convenient, easy, and effective to use. Finally, a sheriff app provides both law enforcement and the communities they serve peace of mind.

The appropriate use of technology is a positive, cost-effective way to enhance a sheriff’s department for the betterment of the public and their employees. By making an application part of the technology used on a regular basis, both the community and deputies can become familiar and comfortable with it. Furthermore, it serves as a direct line between citizens and deputies which saves time. The more time saved, the better safety can be maintained. Sheriff’s apps are a great way to bridge gaps between deputies and the communities they serve.

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