Why is it Important for Police to Connect to the Community? Exploring the Role of a Police App

Ken Schul

(Retired Captain, CMPD), Director, StackBench

Public safety is all about citizens and their respective communities. Though law enforcement agencies would like to have additional communication with their citizens, it is often a challenge to make announcements and alerts efficiently. The ability for citizens to contact the police easily is another positive attribute of using an app. Aside from traditional 911 calls, citizens call an alternative landline phone number to 911 or a hotline to provide potentially helpful information to law enforcement. Placing a call, waiting, and being transferred all take time. With the implementation of a police app, citizens can upload photos, videos, and other information from their phones, speeding up the process.

Past Communication

In the past and present, communication throughout police departments has been conducted primarily through radio and phone. Over the last several decades, inter-office personnel communications have increased with the implementation of email. Radios remain an integral piece of police equipment but do not allow law enforcement to converse with the public. Radios can lose signal, making communication distorted and difficult to hear. Radios can be scanned by anyone who owns a scanner. For this reason, police use “ten codes” to speak over this system. Using ten codes, police officers can relate crucial information to each other over the air. However, if an individual such as a civilian is scanning the police radio channel, they still may be able to decipher what is happening. This knowledge leak could lead to a potentially unsafe situation for police officers. For instance, if a suspect who is wanted is listening to the radio traffic, they may be able to escape the police if they have knowledge law enforcement is coming their way.

Though radios, phones, and email are still effective ways to communicate within a police department, using a police app is a much more effective and efficient way to communicate with fellow officers and the people they protect. A cop app can bridge the gap between law enforcement and the citizens they serve. It can also allow law enforcement to converse with each other more securely. The Unified Communication Platform (UCP) Police app from StackBench is a highly secure way for law enforcement to communicate with each other. The ability to send and receive encrypted messages regarding important police information enhances officer safety.

The traditional forms of communication for police officers are still in use today, however, an application can enhance law enforcement’s reach. A police app can extend how a department relates information to the public. An app is a tool in the form of cutting-edge technology. A police application is an ideal solution for connecting law enforcement and citizens. In addition, a smartphone application is an effective tool since most individuals are already familiar with this technology.

Police App Role

The role of a police or sheriff app does not replace the job of a person, it enhances the connection between law enforcement and the public. An app also increases overall productivity in a police department. Using an app decreases the number of steps it takes to report an incident to the police or to offer potential leads. The ability to exchange information quickly within the department saves time and resources. Having accurate, detailed information instantly allows police officers to respond to a scene to the best of their ability.

Police and sheriff departments can alert the public quickly should a situation arise. Officers and Command Staff can send out one alert through the application as well as all social media platforms with the touch of a button. Alerting the public in this manner saves time and protects citizens and officers by making them situationally aware.

An app makes connecting people with their local law enforcement easy and efficient. In addition, an app decreases or even removes challenges often faced when reporting incidents to the police. The more information relayed to law enforcement, the better they can respond and protect their communities. The UCP Police app makes it easy for an individual to report an incident immediately and anonymously via the app. The reporting party may also upload photos or videos to the department, GPS coordinates is another option to include.

Offering the public a way to connect with their local law enforcement agency through an app allows citizens to do their part in public safety and community policing. For instance, if an incident happening is a burglary and a suspect flees, the public can upload a photo of the subject to the police through the app.

A cop app is an excellent way to provide wellness resources to the community. Departments can customize applications to suit the needs of their citizens and their agency.

Recent findings have stated police apps are valuable tools for police departments. Police apps can serve as excellent tools for investigation as well. For instance, law enforcement can reach more people regarding an incident they need information on, such as an ongoing investigation or a missing person, when they post pertinent information on social media through the app.

Safety for All

A police app enhances public safety overall for both the citizens and officers. An app for police allows officers to communicate instantly with other officers. With the UCP police command staff can send messages directly to their personnel and see when the communication has been read. This way, supervisors can ensure their officers have seen the information. Whether the intel passed to officers is an officer memo or crucial information about an incident, a cop app can keep each individual within the department accountable.

A police or sheriff app can also serve as a platform for announcements and alerts. For example, if a vehicle accident occurs on a major roadway, officers can tell the public by posting an alert in the app. Law enforcement can also post information regarding people or vehicles to be on the lookout for.

A cop app like UCP Police or UCP Sheriff equips law enforcement officers with an easy-to-use tool to connect with the public they serve. With the touch of a button, a department can create a post in seconds alerting citizens of potential danger. Law enforcement can also post information regarding a case to obtain potential leads from citizens.

Effective Communication

Implementing smartphone technology into law enforcement’s day-to-day operations allows the community to communicate with their local police officers effectively and conveniently. One of the challenges law enforcement agencies and their communities alike have faced is consistent communication. Often when people witness an incident and attempt to report the situation to authorities, important information may become lost or unintentionally left out. That can lead to false leads or tips that are difficult to follow up on. However, with a police or sheriff app such as the cop app from StackBench, the public can upload photos and videos in real-time to send to law enforcement immediately. The ability to send information directly to the police from an Android or iPhone saves time and decreases the possibility of information becoming improperly reported.

A cop app can also provide law enforcement with GPS coordinates of the callers’ location as an option. Direct coordinates to a location save time and resources. Police can respond much more quickly when given the exact address.

Another common challenge for the public is the desire to maintain anonymity. Often individuals who see an incident occurring will want to report what they saw, but the caller may not want to be identified for safety purposes. Using an application to report suspicious activity allows an individual to remain anonymous while still reporting what they witnessed to their local police.

The Solution is Connecting

Apps for police are an effective way to connect communities with their local law enforcement. Departments can customize their app to fit their communities’ needs. Police can offer direct contact between themselves and the public through a cop app. Agencies can also provide their officers with valuable mental health resources they can access through the app. Through an app, a department can provide their respective communities with information about the police department itself, enhancing transparency and public safety.

UCP Police offers police departments a way to be more vocal and allows them to keep the citizens they serve in the know and safer. The more a police or sheriff’s department connects with the public they protect, the stronger the relationship will be, strengthening the rapport between the police and the public.

Police departments can put their best foot forward for the people they serve and protect by using a cop app and making it available to the community. The obstacles law enforcement and the public have faced previously can now be overcome by using an app that is budget-friendly for departments and free to the public.