Wednesday, November 13, 2013
In this digital age, their are smart phone applications for just about anything you can dream up. Social media has hit an all-time high, and almost everyone is engaged. The Mount Pleasant Police Department is no exception.
A month ago the department released a smart phone and tablet application to help increase the interactions they have with the community they serve. The application is free to download for Apple iPhones as well as Android based smart phones.
The brainchild of Sgt. Chip Googe and PFC Bryce Gregory, this application allows citizens the opportunity to interact with the police department via electronic mail and/or telephone contact.
It was just another way to be more transparent with the citizens, Googe explained.
“Citizens can now communicate with us and see what we’re doing,” he explained.
“It’s a way to break down the perceived secrecy that some believe exists.”
The application is easy to download and provides users with the ability to submit crime tips anonymously, view a map of where crime is occurring, receive push notifications of important alerts, view feeds from Facebook and Twitter and send a photograph of crime issues.
Submitted photographs go right to Googe and Gregory’s emails, which they access via their phones, so that they can respond immediately.
Users have the ability to compliment an officer as well.
As with all social media, this application is not meant to be used in an emergency.
Push messages come in just like a text message and are sent geographically. For example, if there is a traffic incident near Brickyard and motorists need to be urged to avoid the area for a while, anyone with the application, near that area, will be notified. So far eight push messages have been sent. An example could be an Amber Alert or information about the recent Children’s Day Festival.
Charleston-based company Net Galaxy Studios built and designed the application for the department and was chosen from a handful of companies that bid on the project, The application was funded from the department’s operating budget. So far 475 users have downloaded and are using the application.
Googe encourages user feedback so that tweaks and changes can be made to the application if needed.
“In fact we have already made adjustments to it. The application is for the citizens so we want it to work for them,” he said.
Googe said that historically people are afraid to ask what the police department is doing or what might be happening when they see officers converge. “With social media we’re able to put it out there instantaneously and keep the citizens informed.”
The Mount Pleasant Police Department will be monitoring communications from the application periodically but will not be actively monitoring messages all of the time. If an emergency arises citizens should dial 911.
PFC. Chris Rosier joins Googe and Gregory in the department’s social media effort and all are available to offer more information to citizens. Call 884-4176.
These applications can be downloaded here:
APPLE: https://itunes. apple.com/us/app/town-mt-pleasant-police- department/id702959880?ls =1&mt=8
In related news
Charleston County Emergency Management Department (EMD) has also developed an application now available for free on all Apple and Android devices. While the application was designed with hurricane season in mind, the operation will be a valuable tool for any natural or man-made disaster.
New EMD app:
Neighborhood distribution points
Special event information
Family emergency plans
Charleston County applied for and received a federal grant to cover the cost of production. The grant will provide funding for yearly maintenance costs of the app.
To see an overview of the app’s features, watch the short tutorial developed by Charleston County: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaOwnxXpVwg. Visit www.charlestoncounty.org to pay taxes online, and for news, services and up-to-date information relating to Charleston County Government.