The Waynesville Police Department is introducing a new mobile app

March 27 – The Waynesville Police Department has launched its own mobile app and is encouraging Haywood County residents to download it.

Launched late last year, the app offers users a wealth of features that are readily available to the public.

Waynesville Deputy Police Commissioner Brandon Gilmore said the driving force behind releasing the app was providing transparency. It offers numerous useful features such as a sex offender search and inmate search.

“I’d be afraid to pick just one as a favorite,” Gilmore said of the features. “I feel like this is a constantly evolving process. I don’t know if we’re ever going to just leave him alone.”

The sex offender search allows you to enter your address to get a map of sex offenders registered at addresses near you. If you click on an offender, you will see a picture of the person, a description, their address and the crime committed.

The inmate locator provides up-to-date information on the detainees at the Haywood County Detention Center, including their mugshot, charges, and bail status.

community surveillance

The app also includes a section for citizens to provide tips.

“We got a lot of tips through the app,” Gilmore said. “Sometimes it’s complaints as small as speeding that we didn’t know about before. Of course, tips are always welcome. They help us to do our job better.”

When a citizen leaves a tip, they can either leave contact information so an officer can contact them, or remain anonymous.

In addition to tips, there is an opportunity to leave commendations for officials and complaints.

“Being transparent to the community and not only praising our officials, but correcting them, gives us an opportunity to improve and monitor ourselves,” Gilmore said.

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There is also a push notification option which is common with most apps. However, the Waynesville Police Department uses it in a more useful way than some other apps, sending out notifications about things like accidents and construction that residents should avoid.

The story goes on

The notifications are also posted on the department’s social media accounts, making it a “single stop” for community notification, Gilmore said.

The app also includes a tab where you can view the department’s most wanted suspects at any time, including a description of the person and the crimes they are accused of.

The public has also helped police identify suspects through the app. When images of suspects are captured by surveillance cameras, officers upload images to the app and call on the public to help identify them by asking, “Do you know this person?”

Gilmore said the department will seek a grant so they can add an internal page to the app to allow city employees to see the resources specifically available to them.

Waynesville police heard about the idea of ​​an app at a police chiefs conference in Cherokee last year. It took the department about four or five months to have a third party put together and publish the app.

“Police apps can be a powerful tool to encourage community engagement and build trust between law enforcement and the public,” said Waynesville Alderman Anthony Sutton. “By providing easy access to crime and safety information, channels for reporting suspicious activity and communicating with local police, these apps can help create a more collaborative and responsive approach to policing that benefits everyone.

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The app cost the department between $13,000 and $15,000, funded by the Waynesville City Council.

“I feel like the money was well spent,” Gilmore said. “We are always looking for ways to better connect with the people we serve and work for here. This is just another resource for doing that.”

The app can be downloaded for free from both Google Play and the Apple Store.