CLAY COUNTY, Fla. – Clay County law enforcement agencies have launched a new tool for reporting crimes and suspicious activity in the county that can also help keep the public informed.
Authorities on Monday announced the launch of the SaferWatch app.
The app is now live. It will allow members of the community to send tips, photos and videos directly to law enforcement. You can even go live with personnel at Clay County’s Real Time Crime Center.
“In fact, if you have a smartphone in your hand or access to a computer, you can now be a part of the SaferWatch team,” said Clay County Sheriff Michelle Cook. “SaferWatch empowers users to report a crime or suspicious activity as they see it happening or submit a tip at a later time.”
You can submit information anonymously, and Cook says the app won’t track members of the community — it will only send the location from where you reported the incident.
The tool is also now being implemented in Clay County District Schools. All 40 plus schools across the district will also be using the SaferWatch app, allowing staff to hit a panic button in an emergency that will immediately alert law enforcement and pinpoint their location.
“The information immediately goes to the Sheriff’s Office dispatch center and the Clay County District Schools police then is routed to the appropriate responders,” said Clay County Superintendent of Schools David Broskie.
Clay County District Schools Police Chief Kenneth Wagner said: “This app brings another level of security to our schools and creates a stronger partnership with Clay County law enforcement agencies.”
Cook says the app will also make law enforcement’s response more efficient in some cases — for example, if a child is reported missing, the parent can send a photo right from the app.
“In that call that these deputies and officers are receiving, that call now includes the photograph, the child, so while they’re driving there, they can now see who they’re looking for,” Cook said.
The app also sends push alerts to anyone who opts in.
“Our Real Time Crime personnel can send out a message to anybody in the general area of the park and say, ‘We have a missing child,’” Cook said.
For threats big and small, Clay County law enforcement officials say the SaferWatch app will help them gather information and respond efficiently.
Cook was involved in launching the SaferWatch app at the Atlantic Beach Police Department. A spokesperson there says it has worked well and they usually get a couple calls through the app each day.
The app will cost about $40,000 a year, Cook says, with some of that money coming from the Green Cove Springs Police Department.
The web- and mobile-based security system was created to enhance security at schools, corporations, public venues and neighborhoods.
The app can be downloaded by searching SaferWatch on Google Play or the Apple App Store.
Click here for more information on the SaferWatch app.