The Times West Virginian

December 28, 2013

New app launched by State Police

Features include blast messages for Amber Alerts, major crimes

By Kristen Talerico
Times West Virginian

FAIRMONT — The West Virginia State Police has launched a new application for iPhone and Android users.

With the rising popularity of smartphones, officials say this is just what the state needs to enhance communication between law enforcement and the public.

“This app had been talked about for the past year, and over the past few months finishing touches were added,” Sgt. Michael Baylous of the West Virginia State Police said. “Its main goal is to disseminate information to the public.”

Since right before Christmas, people have been more supportive of the new innovation. Baylous said there have been a lot of positive comments and suggestions, and overall people love the idea.

The State Police accepts comments on how to improve the app, and Baylous encouraged anyone wanting to offer insight to email the agency.

It is definitely considered a “work in progress,” according to Baylous.

Not only will this app provide immediate information to the public, but Baylous said blast messages for Silver or Amber Alerts and major criminal incidents are available, as are sex offender lists, local detachments, phone numbers, and Facebook and Twitter links.

The app can be purchased for free through Google Play or the iTunes App Store.

Baylous said the West Virginia State Police would like to remind users that this app does not take the place of calling 911 in the event of an emergency, and it’s not designated to send urgent information through Facebook, email or Twitter.

Future goals for the app are links to full video conferences for people who cannot make their way to Charleston, and old pictures from archives.

Baylous added that people operating a motor vehicle should pull off the side of the road or have someone else in the car navigate the app for them.

Email Kristen Talerico at ktalerico@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @KTalericoTWV.