CAPE MAY - Cape May Police Chief Anthony Marino used the Cape May City Council meeting June 5 to launch a new initiative in community policing.
Marino said he was looking at a new technology-based program to help his department communicate more effectively with the public, “providing a more direct and immediate source of public safety information.”
Utilizing an integrated set of products from Crimewatch Technologies, a Carlisle, Pa. firm, the police department replaced its website, added a phone app, and adopted a multifaceted platform for communication with the public across social media.
Matthew Bloom, Crimewatch CEO, described the system as a way to organize the online environment to support a single mission, that of developing an effective partnership between the public and the police department.
The new technologies employed attack that mission from multiple avenues, providing numerous “touch points” aimed at engaging the public wherever they are in the cyber world.
Bloom described the process as one which pushes out public safety information automatically across a multitude of social media platforms, a dedicated app, local media contacts, and even a soon-to-come broadcast TV capability.
Bloom stressed it is not only the distribution capabilities but also the ability to control what is being or has already been shared.
As the company described it, the law enforcement officer decides what information needs to be communicated to the public. The system then distributes that content across multiple platforms and social media touch points.
At any point, law enforcement has the ability to alter, update or remove the information, not just from its own platform, but automatically across all areas where the information was shared.
The system, designed first and foremost as a vehicle to communicate with the public, has its own app available in both Google and Apple versions. The app is free to download and provides the public with yet another means of gaining information quickly when it is pushed out in an emergency.
Marino and Bloom put many of the app’s user features on display for council, ranging from an ability of a member of the public to leave an anonymous tip, to the capacity for that same individual to use the crime mapping feature “to see what is going on around them.”
An individual, perhaps on vacation elsewhere, would also be able to use the app to request a home check or to commend an officer for some form of service.
A camera registry would allow owners of security cameras to register them with the police department, giving law enforcement instant knowledge of where security cameras are when investigating an incident. Police would not have unauthorized access to the video but would know that a camera exists that may help their investigation.
The system went live at the police department the same night that it was presented to council. Those interested in exploring the new capabilities and or downloading the app can do so through the department’s website at www.capemaypolice.org.
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