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March 28. 2013 10:02PM

Police now have an app for that


This screenshot shows a menu of some of the options on the new smart phone application for Middleton Police, which launched March 5 and is available for download. Lee police released a similar system Wednesday. (Courtesy image)
MIDDLETON - So far, 100-plus people have downloaded a new app that connects the public with the Middleton and Lee police departments.

Both programs were designed by Middleton Police Sgt. Tim Brown and allow users to take pictures, contact police, access police websites, receive announcements and keep track of events.

Middleton police launched the application for Android phones March 5, and have since expanded to iPhones. Lee police released their version for both Androids and the iPhone Wednesday. The app can be downloaded for free from the police websites.

No tax dollars were used to create them, according to Brown.

Since launching, 80 area residents have downloaded Middleton's application; more people are signing up for the free program each day, according to Brown.

Lee Sgt. Thomas Dronsfield said since the program went online, 16 people downloaded the application for the Android and 20 downloaded it for the iphone in the first 24 hours.

"It just gives people another way to reach out to us," Dronsfield said, adding Lee police have received a lot of help solving crimes via the department's Facebook page. "The trend is people are using social media for everything."

While people can still e-mail, call or stop by the department, Dronsfield said the new application allows residents to help police on the go, especially if they witness a crime. Users can take a picture of a driver or vehicle while sending a voice message with further details via e-mail.

"It just gives us a wider net to cast," Dronsfield said.

Brown said police can also send announcements such as road closures, alerts or serious weather updates. Middleton's program also offers a map of town buildings; he plans to add local businesses that want to be listed.

Brown and Dronsfield stressed that police are unable to track users via the program.

"No location information is available to us," Brown said.

Brown said he is working on more features, including the ability to listen to public scanner channels for police and firefighters.

"Once I am there, I will upload an automatic update," Brown said, adding he is open to suggestions for other options.

For more information, contact Brown via email at tbrown@ne.twcbc.com.



jquinn@newstote.com

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