The UCP Sheriff App: How a Crime Prevention Smartphone App Reduces the Perception of Crime

Ken Schul

(Retired Captain, CMPD), Director, StackBench

Technology plays a crucial role in present-day policing. Using technology regularly in law enforcement work can impact crime rates. With the implementation of a sheriff app, law enforcement can respond more quickly to incident calls. In addition, when sheriff’s deputies receive tips or leads from the public, they can apprehend a suspect faster. Both attributes can potentially decrease crime as an increase in sheriff deputy presence often deters subjects from partaking in criminal acts.

Custom Mobile Apps for Sheriff’s Offices

Mobile apps have become an integral part of society. People have mobile applications for tracking health, finances, weather, and business. Law enforcement can benefit from the use of a mobile app as well as a customized app such as the Unified Communication Platform (UCP) for Sheriff’s Offices developed by StackBench. Customizable technology can be an effective tool for law enforcement.

Though they share the same goal of protecting their citizens, the needs of each department differ. Differences depend on the size of the department, the terrain of the jurisdiction, and the size of the community's population. Each of these factors changes the needs of the agency.

A Sheriff App such as UCP for Sheriff’s Offices allows departments to modify the platform for their communities. For instance, a public safety app lets officers communicate better with the public; it also allows the public to communicate more effectively with local law enforcement.

When the public is aware of this type of app, criminal activity may decrease. For instance, the use of smartphones allows citizens to take photos or videos of incidents in progress. A public safety app that connects the public directly to law enforcement without a middleman can help deter criminal activity or at least how often it occurs.

Reducing Crime By Connecting

The use of technology has increased the effectiveness and response time of law enforcement agencies everywhere. The enhancement of law enforcement response time is apparent in many capacities of policing and a public safety app is the most effective tool in preventing crime. The ability to connect law enforcement with the public through an application on a smartphone is a method of communication every department should consider.

The more information a deputy has regarding an incident taking place or that has taken place, the better they can handle the situation and the safer they can remain. Law enforcement is trained to be vigilant and situationally aware at all times. Situational awareness refers to being aware of what is happening around you including people near you and how they are behaving and how they are dressed. For law enforcement, noticing these details is instilled through training and conscious practice.

The people in the public that sheriff's deputies serve can practice situational awareness using a sheriff app. A cop app such as the UCP Sheriff app gives citizens an easy and effective technological tool. With the UCP Sheriff's Office app, the public can take photos and videos of incidents occurring before them and upload them directly to the police. Sharing information in this manner is highly effective in all situations that involve law enforcement. An application removes the guesswork and potential for misunderstood information.

For instance, if a civilian calls their local sheriff's office because they just witnessed a robbery, they relate that information over the phone to the dispatcher. The dispatcher then tells deputies what the caller has said.Though this method is often accurate, it leaves room for error. With a Sheriff’s App, an individual can snap a photo of the suspect, upload it, and send it to law enforcement immediately. Optionally, the citizens’ location can be reported without the individual telling law enforcement. The UCP Sheriff app can include exact GPS coordinate capability so law enforcement does not have to guess where an incident took place. This is another safety feature included in the cop app.

Providing a way for the public to contact their local law enforcement directly is a game changer in modern-day policing. Citizens are more likely to report incidents they witness or helpful information to law enforcement when they have an easy way of doing so. In addition, the ability to report anonymously is another positive feature of the UCP for Sheriff’s Offices app. Often the public wishes to report what they see but do not want to become involved in the situation directly. The convenience and safety of providing a tip or lead to the police without involving the reporting party’s name likely increases how often leads are called in.

Community Policing Through a Sheriff’s App

Over the last few years, the effectiveness of community policing has come to light. Community policing entails the public letting law enforcement know what they witness and police or sheriffs being much more communicative with the public. A Sheriff's App can make this process much easier for civilians to interact with their local law enforcement. When this task is convenient, people are more likely to contact their local deputies with helpful information. Leads from the public and potential witnesses are among the strongest tips sheriffs can follow.

Community policing has increased with the use of technology. For example, many businesses now have cameras in or around their locations. When an incident occurs, law enforcement can consult with business owners to retrieve footage. Another way law enforcement can benefit from technology is by using social media. A recent study stated that 81% of police and sheriffs use social media as a tool to help their investigations. Social Media provides a platform for law enforcement to alert the public of incidents happening, and it serves as a way for sheriffs to ask the public about information they need. It allows investigators to have a convenient tool for uncovering information pertinent to an investigation.

A Sheriff's App can help reduce crime in a community by utilizing the application at particular times. For instance, if there has been a string of burglaries in a certain area of town, law enforcement can let the public know immediately. When given this particular information, citizens can be on the lookout for suspicious activity. If a person witnesses a criminal act, or in this example specifically, a burglary in progress, the individual can let their Sheriffs' department know what they saw and potentially descriptive details of a subject. Law enforcement can then begin to look for the person of interest much more quickly and are more likely to apprehend them faster, reducing the possibility of more burglaries occurring in that area.

An app for Sheriffs is an effective way for a Sheriff or deputies to connect with the citizens they serve and can combine the use of social media with other helpful features within the app. UCP Sheriff allows sheriff departments to make a post across several social media platforms all at once. UCP Sheriff app has many ways to make the app customizable for law enforcement. Every department differs, and by using a public safety app, sheriffs can customize their application according to the needs of their respective communities.


Another positive aspect of using a sheriff's office app is that it allows the public to know their department. Features such as “Know Your Sheriff” give citizens an inside look into their local law enforcement. When a sheriff’s office is transparent with the community they serve, they will gain more trust and respect with the people they protect. Departments can add other information as well such as helpful resources for mental health and overall wellness. These can benefit the public and sheriff’s deputies.

The ability to instantly send out alerts to citizens is advantageous should a situation occur in the community that the public needs to know about. In seconds, deputies can issue an alert for wanted suspects, road closures, vehicle accidents, or other situations that arise.

Apps for sheriff’s offices also make it easy for command staff to alert deputies on their shift about important information. In minutes, every deputy can have intel in their hands regarding vehicles to be on the lookout for and any other types of information that they need to know. UCP Sheriff has a feature that shows the sender of the memo who has read the notification and when. The faster law enforcement obtains information, the faster they can respond to a situation. Faster response time builds community trust and potentially helps to reduce crime.

Technology is the Answer

Smartphones have changed the way companies do business and the way people communicate. A Sheriff's App can enhance investigations and community outreach. Incorporating a public safety app like UCP Sheriff from StackBench can provide helpful and quick solutions to challenges often faced involving effective communication between law enforcement and their communities.

Law enforcement can decrease crime in their communities much more quickly with the implementation of an application. Most of the citizens they serve will be comfortable with a smartphone application. The more information shared and circulated, the faster Sheriff's deputies can respond, reducing crime in their jurisdiction.