Mobile Solutions for Sheriff’s Departments: Customizing Apps for Enhanced Efficiency

Ken Schul

(Retired Captain, CMPD), Director, StackBench

Sheriff’s Departments cover a wide span of their community. Communication within law enforcement agencies is always important and for deputies, it can be more challenging to communicate simply because of how vast their jurisdiction is. Connecting deputies to co-workers has improved with new, innovative technology that has enhanced handheld radios. However, even these tried and true forms of communication fail from time to time.

New technology such as a Sheriff App can improve the quality of communication between deputies and other personnel, as well as between citizens and deputies. A smartphone application can improve communication between law enforcement personnel. Both of these positive aspects enhance public safety. The goal of a sheriff's department app is to provide a resource that law enforcement and citizens alike will use. When a custom sheriff's department app is used by deputies or by the public, it serves as a helpful tool for all.

Communication and Community

Communication is one of the most impactful ways a law enforcement agency can be transparent with the public. Constant communication helps to build a positive rapport with the people sheriff’s departments serve. When a law enforcement agency is transparent, it leaves no room for guesswork or assumptions. Providing the public with clear, upfront information makes a positive impact on civilians. For example, if there is a situation law enforcement is handling, and it is best for the public to stay away from a particular area, sheriff’s deputies can post an alert advising citizens to keep away from that section of the county. At times, certain information will be sensitive and cannot be released to civilians. However, if an agency relays some intel, the public is more likely to stay away from the situation at hand and trust their local deputies. These alerts can be posted by utilizing a Sheriff’s App.

Community policing has been proven effective and those departments who utilize the public they serve and keep them informed have received positive feedback. A mobile application for Sheriff's departments can bridge the gaps in communication between deputies and the public as well as command staff and their deputies. It takes seconds for deputies or civilians to use a sheriff's department application; once used the impact is expansive.

Recent studies have shown that using social media and other forms of similar communication, such as a mobile app for sheriff’s departments, improves community policing. Community policing can be valuable to both the public and local law enforcement. When the people sheriff’s deputies serve are willing to come forward with helpful information, it provides law enforcement with faster leads. Faster leads on cases can potentially lead to quicker apprehension, maintaining public safety. The ability to use a convenient tool that most people are familiar with is a game changer. Everyone with access to a mobile app for sheriff's departments will use this tool.

By alerting the people in the community of certain situations, law enforcement can enhance public safety within their jurisdiction. For instance, if a traffic accident involving multiple vehicles has taken place, deputies can alert the public so they may stay away from that location. In this particular scenario, making a post using sheriff department apps keeps safe law enforcement and citizens alike. Over the last few years, law enforcement has experienced an increase in officer deaths related to traffic enforcement. In 2019, 44 officer deaths occurred during a traffic stop or due to a traffic accident. When a sheriff’s department can forewarn the public regarding a situation and provide situational awareness, it can prevent an officer fatality.

An application for sheriff's departments provides law enforcement with an easier and more effective way to inform the public regarding incidents in the community. A custom sheriff's app enables departments to choose particular categories within the application that are the best fit for their department and the citizens they serve.

Custom Needs

An app for sheriff’s departments obtains the best results if the application is customized to the needs of both the agency and the public they serve. The UCP Sheriff App from StackBench provides law enforcement the ability to make the app their own. Sheriff command staff can choose settings regarding how their personnel receive messages through the application. This way sheriffs and undersheriffs can keep their staff accountable and informed. Mobile apps for sheriff’s departments allow command staff and shift supervisors to communicate important information securely. Instead of providing intel over the radio, an officer can be informed through the app. Though valuable to daily law enforcement situations, radios are often scanned by civilians so deputies mustn't share certain types of information over the radio. By using a Sheriff App, deputies can communicate without worrying about their encrypted messages being read by anyone in the public.

UCP Sheriff also allows departments to set up additional resources for the public such as inmate information, a “get to know your sheriff” section, and lists of the most wanted. Providing information to citizens enhances public safety. In addition, when the public is equipped with more information regarding their county, they can practice situational awareness. Sheriff department apps can also be customized to include health resources and even informative videos for the public. In the past, law enforcement may have offered this type of information via a brochure or on a department website. While those are still good ways of providing the public with community resources, it is more effective to provide the information directly to the individuals' phones through an app.

An application for sheriff’s departments can also enable the public to provide information to law enforcement quickly, conveniently, and anonymously. Dispatch centers are still imperative for daily sheriff and police operations, but often calls may be dropped or information misunderstood. Additionally, a citizen may witness an incident occur and would like to report it to their local sheriff’s department but may not want to become directly involved. A custom sheriff’s app can solve each of these predicaments. The UCP Sheriff app provides the public the ability to relay information to their local sheriff’s department anonymously. This application also includes a way for the public to upload photos and videos to law enforcement immediately and with GPS coordinates for location.

Every county is different, which means the needs of each jurisdiction also differ. The ability to customize a sheriff's department application provides a law enforcement agency a way to meet the needs of the public they serve in the best way possible.

Choose an App for the Community

The best custom sheriff’s app is the one that suits an agency’s community. The UCP Sheriff app from StackBench enables deputies and their command staff a convenient way to provide information to the public and for citizens to engage with their local sheriff’s deputies. When a mobile application for sheriff’s departments is customized, it can provide the best solution for improved communication between law enforcement and the public.

Most law enforcement applications easily fit into a department's budget and are free for the public to use. Sheriff's departments cover so much ground in each county it can make it difficult for law enforcement and the public to connect unless a situation where law deputies are needed arises. Implementing a mobile application designed for law enforcement and customizable for each community can positively impact sheriff's departments. The public is far more likely to offer helpful tips and leads to their local sheriff's department when they can do so from an app on their phone. It is also much easier for sheriff's departments to keep on top of maintaining the public's awareness when they can simply make a post in a few seconds. The UCP Sheriff app allows deputies to create one post, and post it on various social media sites with one push of a button.

A police or sheriff's department application fits any law enforcement agency. Sheriff's departments and police departments have similar duties; in those areas where they differ from one another, a sheriff's department app can help in many ways. Additionally, it is not as common for deputies to interact with citizens unless they are responding to a situation; most of the time, deputies cover a lot of ground in one day since their jurisdiction is countywide which does not leave much room for interaction with citizens. By implementing a sheriff's app, deputies can interact with civilians more easily. The more communicative and interactive an agency is, the more trust and rapport are built.

Law enforcement officers face adversity constantly, whether it is a situation they respond to or from news headlines. Likewise, police officers and sheriff's deputies receive positive and negative feedback from the public they protect. With a sheriff's department app, an agency can help citizens view law enforcement in a much more positive light.

To learn more about how your sheriff's department can benefit from a custom sheriff's app, check out the app UCP Sheriff from StackBench. UCP Sheriff can connect your agency with personnel and citizens quickly, effectively, and easily and will make a difference in daily law enforcement operations.