By Adam Wolfe
The Maricopa Police Department demonstrated its new mobile application during Saturday’s “Coffee with the Chief” at the Maricopa Police Station.
The mobile app will allow residents to keep up with MPD news and updates, as well as report crimes, contact certain departments and find a list of missing or wanted people in the community with ease and convenience. Residents will be able to report tips anonymously as well as provide their information if they choose to.
“[Each report] will go to each individual on duty sergeant,” MPD public information officer Ricardo Alvarado said. “Once the communications center is up and running, it’ll all go to them. Each report will be followed up with within 72 hours.”
When submitting a report, residents will have the option to state whether the crime is an urgent matter or “suspicious activity.” All reports are welcome, but the department is discouraging repeated non-emergency reporting, especially by the same individual. Non-emergency tips will be followed up within 72 hours, but emergency situations will be handled first.
“We’re not going to discourage anyone from submitting reports, but we are going to discourage them from misusing it,” Alvarado said. “We want to know what’s going on, but we don’t expect you to state there is a car parked in the roadway and you want it removed right away. We definitely don’t want anyone sending that [repeatedly].”
The app is meant to create awareness among the community, as well as providing residents easy access to various departments of MPD. There is a directory available in the app, and each listing has a link for users to tap to make a phone call or send an email. Users will also be able to report tips on missing or wanted people, as well as keep track of press releases and community events.
“We’ll offer push notifications as well,” Alvarado said. “Every time something new changes that’s a pressing matter, you’ll get a [notification] letting you know. We don’t want to blow you up every time we add something new that’s not happening in real time.”
Alvarado also stated the application is meant to be a tool for the public, but it is not meant to replace people calling 911 in the event of an emergency. If an emergency situation arises, residents should still call 911 immediately.
Maricopa will be one of just three departments in the state with their own app. Tempe Police Department uses the same software for their app, and Mesa Police spent $40,000 to develop their own app in house. By using Cloud Space Mobile software, the app only cost the Maricopa department $3,600 and offers complete control of the content.
The app is expected to be available for free to the public during the first week of September on both Android and Apple iOS devices.
The app is considered another progressive step from the Maricopa Police Department, but Chief Steve Stahl added, “Don’t look at it while you’re driving.”